Kyle Kuzma wins MVP, U.S. tops World in Rising Stars 161-144

When the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Boston’s Jayson Tatum get to the NBA All-Star Game and partake in what’s become the preferred run-and-fun style where defense is discouraged at virtually all costs, this much is clear.

They’ll be ready.

Dunks, layups, 3-pointers and little else. That was the play sheet for the Rising Stars game in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday night, one where Kuzma led all scorers with 35 points on the way to MVP honors and the U.S. team defeated the World squad 161-144 on the floor that the All-Stars will be using on Sunday night.

Tatum added 30 points for the U.S. The teams combined for 37 3-pointers, 55 dunks and shot a combined 12 free throws.

“Last year, the World team kicked our butts,” Kuzma said. “They came in here and beat us by 30. A lot of us kind of remembered that.”

It was 31, actually — 155-124, not that it matters.

Tatum added 30 points in the game for first- and second-year players that was known for years as the Rookie Game. Atlanta’s Trae Young finished with 25 points and 10 assists, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox had 15 assists and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell added 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons led the World team with 28 points on 14-for-17 shooting. Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen had 21 points for the World squad, and Dallas’ Luka Doncic had 13 points and nine assists.

Both teams shot 55 percent. The difference was on 3s — the U.S. was 21-for-51 and the World was 16-for-52.

Famous Los leads celebrities: Comedian Famous Los scored 22 points and was selected the MVP in the Home Team’s 82-80 victory over the Visiting Team in the highest-scoring NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Quavo, part of the hip-hop trio Migos, scored 27 points for the Visiting Team, and former NBA star Ray Allen added 24 in the game that featured 4-point baskets.

Pelicans fire Demps: The New Orleans Pelicans fired ninth-year general manager Dell Demps and will start the process of finding someone to deal with the fallout of All-Star Anthony Davis’ recent trade demand.

Demps’ dismissal comes after Davis said in late January that he would not sign an extension with New Orleans and wants to be traded to a contending team.

“As difficult as these decisions are, my responsibility is to provide the leadership and resources necessary to deliver a winning team to our fans and community,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said in a written statement. “I take that responsibility seriously and would like to assure our fans that I am prepared to provide any, and all, resources required to compete for championships.”

Former Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, who has spent the past three seasons in a consulting role with New Orleans, has been appointed interim general manager.

Nuggets reward front office: The Denver Nuggets, second in the West behind the Warriors, announced contract extensions for president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, general manager Arturas Karnisovas, assistant GM Calvin Booth, director of basketball operations Ben Tenzer, director of basketball strategy and analytics Tommy Balcetis, scouting director Jim Clibanoff and player personnel manager Scott Howard.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Kyle-Kuzma-wins-MVP-U-S-tops-World-in-Rising-13621727.php.

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