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Cavs’ Irving impressive in Challenge

February 25, 2012

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— Cleveland rookie Kyrie Irving made eight three-pointers and finished with 34 points, helping Team Chuck beat Team Shaq, 146-133, in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday.

Indiana’s Paul George added 23 points but the night belonged to Irving, who picked up where another rookie point guard left off in the NBA’s showcase game for its first- and second-year players. Wizards point guard John Wall earned MVP honors last season when he was a rookie.

Former Kansas University standout Markieff Morris of Phoenix scored 12 points.

Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson scored 20 points to lead Team Shaq. New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin had only two points.

This year’s Rising Stars Challenge had a different format, with the rookie and second-year players mixed together on teams for the first time. The league also inserted a little more name recognition with former stars Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley serving as general managers and drafting the teams.

While the teams had a different look, there was once again no real defensive effort and plenty of fan-pleasing fast breaks and flashy play.

Irving opened the game with an alley-oop to George.

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