CLEVELAND — NBA All-Star Weekend is off to a roaring start in Cleveland, especially if you're a Cavaliers fan.
Team Rick Barry, which featured up-and-coming Cavs Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro, emerged as the winner of the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mobley was among the brightest stars of all, tallying 18 points and 11 rebounds in his team's two games.
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Thirteen of Mobley's points and eight of his boards came in the semifinal matchup, where Team Barry took on Team Gary Payton. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft had several powerful dunks, including a clutch put-back late.
Okoro added six points in the semifinals, including a pair of his own vicious slams.
In the end, it was another Ohio kid — Toledo native and Ohio State alum Jae'Sean Tate — who gave Team Barry a 50-48 win with a driving reverse layup. That set up a showdown with Team Isiah Thomas in the championship game.
The two squads went back-and-forth in the finals, but Team Barry ripped off a 13-2 run to be the first to reach 25. Detroit Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham hit a big 3 and Orlando Magic first-round selection Franz Wagner made a walk-off free throw to secure the title.
Despite Mobley's efforts, it was Cunningham who earned Rising Stars MVP honors with 18 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. The No. 1 overall pick clearly put on a show, but Mobley's hometown crowd wasn't particularly thrilled, and many booed when Cunningham received the trophy.
So the All-Star festivities are officially under way. Mobley will be back at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Saturday night when he joins teammates Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland in the Skills Challenge.