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Drummond leads Team Hill to win in Rising Stars Challenge

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The Canadian Press
2/15/2014 12:13:26 AM
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NEW ORLEANS -- Andre Drummond grabbed everything in sight, even that MVP trophy that came apart.

Drummond had 30 points and a Rising Stars Challenge-record 25 rebounds, leading Team Hill to a 142-136 victory over Team Webber on Friday night.

Coach Nate McMillan said general manager Grant Hill talked to his team before the game about performing like Denver's Kenneth Faried, who had 40 points and 10 rebounds while winning MVP honours last year.

The message got through to Drummond, who grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

"Drummond had in his mind that he was going to go out and play the game hard," said McMillan, an assistant to Indiana coach Frank Vogel.

"Every rebound that came off the board, he wanted. A few of them he took from his teammates, but I liked his aggressiveness."

Besides an impressive tally of dunks and rebounds, Drummond even managed to make his free throws. A 41 per cent shooter during the regular season, the Detroit forward went 6 for 8, including a pair with 29 seconds left after chasing down Bradley Beal's missed free throw to give his team a five-point lead.

He eventually got to hoist the MVP trophy, though not before it fell to the court when a representative from game sponsor BBVA tried to hand it to him. It comes in two pieces, a star on top of the base, and the presenter was apparently unaware when he grabbed it by the top.

"It happened last year, too, so I wasn't expecting anything less," Drummond said. "Usually a slip-up happens every year with the trophy. So I wasn't too shocked about that."

Cleveland's Dion Waiters had 31 points, mostly coming during a 1-on-1 duel with New York's Tim Hardaway Jr. in the second half. Beal finished with 21 for Team Hill, picked by former NBA star Hill.

Hardaway scored 36 points and made seven 3-pointers for fellow former Michigan star Chris Webber's squad. Philadelphia rookie Michael Carter-Williams had 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Portland's Damian Lillard had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in the victory, making him 1 for 1 during the busiest All-Star weekend ever. Last season's NBA Rookie of the Year will take part in five events, three more on All-Star Saturday and the All-Star game on Sunday.

All-Stars such as Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Kyrie Irving watched the game, with Irving leaping to his feet at one point after watching Waiters, his Cavaliers teammate, try to take over the game with about 8 minutes to play.

Waiters had two baskets and then two 3-pointers, one of them when he stepped back after faking a move to the basket that made Hardaway lose his balance. Hardaway answered back with two 3-pointers of his own as the crowd roared.

"We were just trying to do a great job of just getting the fans involved," Hardaway said. "It was kind of dead in there and we just wanted to just start something, a little 1-on-1 battle here and there, and it was great."

Waiters then clinched the duel when he knocked the ball free for a rare defensive highlight in the game, nailing his second straight 3-pointer to give team Hill the lead for good at 126-124 with 2:44 left. Drummond followed with a dunk for a four-point advantage, and Team Webber could never catch up.

The game that began as a matchup of top rookies and later turned into rookies against second-year players now mixes the rosters. That's probably a good thing, since this year's crop of kids is so underwhelming.

Only two of the top 10 picks in the 2013 draft, which has been hindered by injuries, were invited to this game, No. 2 Oladipo and No. 9 Trey Burke.

Players were picked to play on Team Hill and Team Webber, which they wore under their numbers on the back of their jerseys.

Drummond 16 points and 10 rebounds in his first 10 minutes and shot 12 of 21 for the game.

Andre Drummond (Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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