Houston, TX, United States (4E Sports) – Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried scored 40 points and grabbed 10 boards to carry Team Chuck to a convincing 163-135 triumph over Team Shaq Friday in the Rising Stars Challenge at Toyota Center.
Faried, who won MVP honors, made 18 of 22 attempts, including several highlight-reel dunks that served as appetizer for his upcoming appearance in Saturday’s slam-dunk contest.
“I came out with the intent to put on a performance,” said Faried, known as “Manimal” for his beefy 6-8 frame. “But I wasn’t thinking MVP type of performance. I was just thinking about winning the game and enjoying myself. And pretty much enjoying the game. I love to play.”
“He just played like he usually plays,” said Sacramento Kings playmaker Isaiah Thomas of Faried. “One-hundred ten percent, 100 miles per hour, rebound, getting put-backs. That’s what he’s good at.”
Former NBA superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley were tasked to form two teams of rookies and second-year players which will play as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 20 points apiece while Thomas added 18 points and 10 assists for Team Chuck.
Last year’s MVP Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers fired 32 points while his Cleveland teammate Dion Waiters contributed 23 markers for Team Shaq, which was completely outplayed in all fronts by Team Chuck.
Overall, Barkley’s team out-rebounded Shaq’s squad, 51-24, and handed 42 assists compared to just 28 by its opponent.
Team Chuck also shot better from the field with 63.9 percent clip while Team Shaq made 60 of 97 shots for 61.9 percent.
Team Chuck made the difference from three-point range, sinking 17 treys compared to just nine by Team Shaq.
In the first half, Barkley’s team dominated Shaq’s, scoring 90 points, 36 of which came from three-point distance, to take control of the game until the final buzzer.