Murray, Hield, lead World past US, 150-141 in Rising Stars


Murray, Hield, lead World past US, 150-141 in Rising Stars

NEW ORLEANS - Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield each had moments when they caught the ball in the low post, only to dribble right out to the corner, turn and let fly a 3-point shot.

Maybe not the most fundamental approach, but the way they were scoring in the Rising Stars Challenge, no one seemed to mind - certainly not the fans.

Murray had 36 points and 11 assists as the World squad beat the U.S. 150-141 on Friday night. Hield, a New Orleans Pelicans rookie, added 28 points to the delight of the locals who'll want to see more of that when the regular season resumes.

"I was feeling it. I was just playing within the game, and I wasn't trying to force it," Murray said. "You never know when I'm going to go off. ... The guys were telling me to shoot it. Fans were telling me to shoot it. Guys were trying to get me open, so I was just trying to take advantage of that."

The game featuring top rookies and second-year pros is the main event on the first night of NBA All-Star weekend. While the final score demonstrated the sport's global gains, both teams had their fair share of highlights.

Murray, a Canadian and Denver Nuggets rookie out of Kentucky, went 9 of 14 on 3-pointers and was voted the game's MVP.

"He got hot. Coach is like, `Give Jamal the ball,'" Hield said. "When a guy is hot, you can't stop him from being hot. You can't be selfish and say, `OK, I want to show out.' I want to show out and I want to get MVP, but he got hot, man. This wasn't my time. He deserved it. When a guy's hot, you got to give him the ball. I don't care who it is. Hats off to him."

Hield, a Bahamian, was 11-of-22 shooting overall, but just 3 of 12 from deep. Hield's regular season high is 21 points, but he's averaged fewer than nine points in an inconsistent first season out of Oklahoma.

Murray essentially sealed the game by hitting three 3s in a span of 49 seconds late in the game.

World coach Mike Brown said he was going to call every play for Murray, "even though we didn't have any plays. But it was easy, because his teammates were yelling every time the other team scored it or we got a rebound, his teammates were yelling, `Don't pass, Jamal! Don't pass!' So he took that to heart and he made some big shots for us."

Latvian Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks added 24 points.

Frank Kaminsky of the Charlotte Hornets scored 33 for the U.S. team and Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota scored 24, highlighted by his dunk of Phoenix guard Devin Booker's half-court lob.

"We didn't come up with the win, but we had a good time out there. We had a lot of fun," said Booker, who had 17 points. "The weekend isn't over for me. I still have the Skills Challenge (Saturday night), so I'm looking forward to that."

There wasn't a whole lot of defense. Both teams shot close to 60 percent and neither team was fouled enough to attempt double-digit free throws. When the teams didn't score, it was often because a brazen or flamboyant pass sailed wide of its target for a turnover.

The U.S. had 18 turnovers, the World squad 13.

Croatian Dario Saric of the Philadelphia 76ers added 17 points for the World, outscoring his American Sixers teammate Jahlil Okafor, who had 10 points. But Okafor, who's reportedly on the trade block, only played 14:34 - less than any other U.S. player - in the 40-minute contest and made the most of his shots, going 5 of 6.

Jonathon Simmons of the San Antonio Spurs scored 19 points for the U.S., throwing down several forceful dunks.

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”