NBA All-Star Weekend unofficially kicked off earlier Friday night with the Celebrity All-Star Game, but it was the Rising Stars Challenge who officially started the activities at the Staples Center. In what was yet another high-scoring affair, Team World took care of business with a big 155-124 victory over Team USA. Team World was led by Sacramento Kings rookie Buddy Hield, who had 29 points to help his team shoot a stellar 58 percent from the floor on the night. Although, the MVP of the game was given to Bogdan Bogdanovic, also from the Kings, who came off the bench for Team World and scored 26 points and shot 7-of-13 from three-point range. Jamal Murray had 21 points and was the only other player on Team World to exceed 20 points, as they spread the ball out and got everyone involved in the 155-point effort. Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid was the other star, as he had five points in just nine minutes, but that included a spin to the basket dunk to wake up the crowd early on. His playing time was limited due to him being involved in All-Star Saturday night and the All-Star Game on Sunday. Team USA was led by Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, who had 35 points, and had possibly the highlight of the night with a between the legs jam in the loss.
Rhode Island Falls to St. Bonaventure
The Rhode Island Rams are in a tough situation as a ranked team, since they are in a lower conference, they really cannot afford any type of slip-ups. Well, they suffered one on Friday night, as the 16th-ranked team fell to St. Bonaventure on the road, 77-74. The Rams' loss is their first in conference play and comes despite them out-shooting the Bonnies overall and from three-point range. Although, the loss snaps their 16-game winning streak, as LaDarien Griffin's dunk with 21.5 seconds left but the Bonnies up for good. Griffin scored eight of his team's final 14 points and came up big on the defensive end of the floor with a block on Jared Terrell. Matt Mobley led the Bonnies with 26 points to lead his team to their eighth straight win, as they reached the 20-win plateau for a third consecutive season. The Rams' win streak was the longest in the country, as they suffered their first loss since falling, 68-64, to Alabama on December 6th. The loss also snaps their 21-game conference win streak, which dates back to a 53-43 loss to Fordham on February 15th, 2017. They may not be ranked when they return to action on Tuesday night to visit La Salle. Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure moves on to play host to Duquesne on Wednesday.
Stars Edge Blues to Move in to Third in Central
Not often do you get a chance to battle the team directly ahead of you in the standings, but the Dallas Stars got that chance on Friday night and capitalized on it. Ben Bishop stepped up between the pipes with 27 saves as the Stars edged the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, to move into third place in the Central Division. Both teams sit with 34 wins and 72 points, but the Stars have two less losses on the season, which currently gives them the advantage. Mattias Janmark and Stephen Johns both found the back of the net for Dallas, who had a season-low 16 shots on goal in the win. They moved this high in the standings for the first time since November 5th, as they have won six of their past seven games overall. Bishop's shutout bid was spoiled with 1:14 left in the game when Brayden Schenn scored, making things interesting in the final minute. Although, they could not tie the game and force overtime, as the Blues have now dropped three in a row. Jake Allen made 14 saves, as both goals were tough-luck tallies, as both hit Blues players on the way in. The Stars head out west on Sunday night to take on the San Jose Sharks, while the Blues will play host to that same Sharks team on Tuesday.