Cleveland's Kyrie Irving rose to the challenge -- again -- in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night at Toyota Center.
His one-on-one duel with Pistons point guard Brandon Knight livened up the second half of a 163-135 rout by Team Chuck. Highlighted by a cross-over dribble that caused Knight to fall down, Irving finished with 32 points, not nearly enough to save Team Shaq. (The teams are named for their general managers, TNT announcers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal.)
"It just happened, honestly," Irving said of the battle with Knight. "That kind of rivalry with me and B. Knight has been happening since high school since we started playing against each other. We were battling for the one and two spot [in individual high school player rankings] in high school. He's a good friend of mine, it's great competition."
It was the only actual competition in a game that was never close. Denver's Kenneth Faried finished with 40 points and 10 rebounds for Team Chuck and was named the most valuable player. Cleveland's Tristan Thompson finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Team Chuck, earning bragging rights.
"It feels good to get a win," he said.
But what everyone will remember is the back-and-forth between the two Central Division point guards.
"Crazy," Cleveland's Dion Waiters said.
"We see it all the time," Cleveland's Tyler Zeller added.
Kyrie Irving scores 32 points in Rising Stars game
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Feb 16