Sixers' MCW gets an All-Star taste

ASSOCIATED PRESS Kyrie Irving, of the East, soars for two of his 31 points. He also had 14 assists and was named MVP of the All-Star Game.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Kyrie Irving, of the East, soars for two of his 31 points. He also had 14 assists and was named MVP of the All-Star Game.
Posted: February 18, 2014

NEW ORLEANS - There was debate before this All-Star Game as to whether 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams would benefit from a full weekend of activity around the best players in the world, or if his worn body could use the much-needed rest and relaxation.

Coach Brett Brown, a veteran of a few All-Star Games as an assistant, was a strong proponent of the former. He believes MCW will benefit from being exposed to what it takes to be an All-Star, both on and off the court.

The coach was right, it appears. Carter-Williams looks as if he's more refreshed, despite having an early-morning practice on Friday, community-service obligations that afternoon and the Rising Stars Challenge game that night.

He spent part of Saturday at Jam Session, signing autographs for a line of hundreds of people, then participated in the Skills Challenge that night. He signed more autographs yesterday and helped coach a team of players from the Special Olympics, also at Jam Session.

MCW was in attendance for the showcase contest last night at the Smoothie King Center and he saw the highest-scoring All-Star game in history as the East came from behind for a 163-155 win, erasing what had been an 18-point, third-quarter deficit.

Kyrie Irving, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, scored 24 of his 31 points in the second half and also dealt a game-high 14 assists in earning MVP honors and leading the East. Carmelo Anthony poured in 30 to back up Irving, while LeBron James had 22 and Paul George 18. Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each scored 38 points to lead the West, which was outscored 87-66 in the second half.

"We got stops and we made shots and we didn't turn the ball over," James said. "We wanted this win, they beat us the last 3 years. Kyrie is special. It's that simple. He's a very smart basketball player. He has the total package. I've always known that since he was in high school. I'm happy for him to win this award. It's big- time."

As for Carter-Williams, the grin rarely left his face during the 3 days here. The grind of eight consecutive losses and a 3-18 record over the past 21 games will resume tonight when the team reconvenes for a practice in preparation for the final 28 games of the season.

"Just to appreciate the game and feel blessed that I'm able to be here and play with these guys," Carter-Williams said. "One day I hope to be able to play in the All-Star Game."

MCW love

Orlando guard Victor Oladipo is one of Michael Carter-Williams' rivals when it comes to rookie of the year competition. The two were teammates for the Skills Challenge on Saturday, coming in second place. Oladipo and MCW have a true friendship, but the award, like everything else, is about competition.

"He's a great player," said Oladipo. "He's a great person as well. He's having a great season, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens towards the end. I'm just going to keep working hard, working on my game and I know he's going to do the same."

New commish speaks

Saturday night, new commissioner Adam Silver held his first All-Star Game news conference. While he answered many questions concerning the future of the league, which he took over after David Stern's retirement on Feb. 1, one in particular was of interest to Sixers fans. The topic was tanking and how it is hurting the league. The commissioner didn't see it that way, however.

"My understanding of tanking would be losing games on purpose and there's been absolutely no evidence that any team in the NBA has ever lost a single game, or certainly in any time that I've been in the league, on purpose," Silver said. "And, to me, what you're referring to, I think, is rebuilding and I'm not sure it's just a function of the collective bargaining agreement. I think there's a balance with any team of the need to look out to the future and at the same time put a competitive product on the floor.

"And I think what we're seeing in the league right now is there's no question that several teams are building towards the future. And I think their fans understand that as well. If there was any indication whatsoever that players or coaches somehow were not doing their absolute most to win a game, we would be all over that. But I don't believe for a second that's what's going on."

All-Star notes

Heading into last night's game, Miami's LeBron James was fifth on the all-time All-Star Game scoring list with 226 points. He was behind Kobe Bryant (280), Michael Jordan (262), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (251) and Oscar Robertson (246). James was well ahead of those players in points per game average, having averaged 25.1 in his nine games . . . Kevin Durant was the points-per-game leader of players who have played three or more games at 28.8, followed by James . . . The most points scored in an All-Star Game is 42 by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962, which was 8.4 points less than what he would average that season.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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