NEW YORK (AP) Kyrie Irving, the MVP of last year's Rising Stars Challenge, will return to the game featuring top rookies and second-year players.
The Cleveland All-Star was one of 18 players chosen Wednesday for the Feb. 15 game in Houston. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will again serve as general managers and draft teams during TNT's pregame show Feb. 7.
Rookie stars Damian Lillard of Portland and Anthony Davis of New Orleans, the No. 1 pick in the draft, also were selected.
Irving, voted an Eastern Conference reserve by the conference's head coaches, scored 34 points last year in Orlando to lead Team Chuck over Team Shaq, 146-133. Cavaliers teammates Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller also were picked.
The remainder of the roster is: Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson (Golden State); Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte); Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond (Detroit); Bradley Beal (Washington); Kenneth Faried (Denver); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio); Chandler Parsons (Houston); Alexey Shved (Minnesota); and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando).
Always the emotional leader of the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin knew that when he woke up on May 23, 2018, that he had the chance to alter the course of his personal history and help push the Capitals to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1998.
Before the puck dropped on a win-or-go-home Game 7, the determination was painted on Ovechkin’s face and on his first shift in the game just 1:02 into the contest in Tampa Bay, the Capitals captain found the back of the net with a one-timer from the point to put his stamp on the game.
Number 6 on our countdown of the Top 20 Goals of the Stanley Cup run is Ovechkin’s opener in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final which catapulted the Capitals to a 4-0 win on the road.
After a strong backcheck and hit by Tom Wilson at center dislodged the puck from Chris Kunitz, he and Evgeny Kuznetsov turned the puck back towards the Lightning zone with Ovechkin trailing the play up the left wing. A drop pass from Wilson right after he crossed the blue line left Kuznetsov with the space needed to whip the puck across the zone to Ovechkin who wasted no time in firing past an unsuspecting Andrei Vasilevskiy for the opening goal of the pivotal game.
The site of one of Ovechkin’s iconic celebrations, the infamous “hot stick” celebration when the captain tallied his 50th goal of the season in 2009, Tampa has always treated the Great 8 kindly as the top line winger entered the 2018 postseason with 14 goals in 22 regular season games in the city. After the Caps finally clinched their spot back in the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa likely will always have a special place in the hearts of Capitals fans and Ovechkin alike.
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Bryce Harper's felt the love in Philly from day one, he told reporters on Tuesday.
And when he comes to his old stomping grounds next week to face the Nationals, he knows it's going to be strange.
“The Nationals are a great team, and are gonna be a great team this year and everybody knows that," he said. "For me, I just want to focus on what we can as a team; as a clubhouse and control what we can.”
"It’s definitely going to be weird walking into opposing clubhouse and seeing the other guys from afar," he added of his impending April 2 trip to Washington. "I wish those guys nothing but the best on that side of the baseball."
But that doesn't mean he's missing his old teammates. In fact, he said, everything's been just great with his new teammates from day one.
"From day one, it felt right," he said. "I always talk about family and being a family and one unit. I get that from this team. Every guy has your back and vice versa. So, I'm very excited to go to battle with these guys.”
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