Rising Stars night is something of a consolation all-star game for teams that don't have real all-stars (yet). With Michael Carter-Williams sitting out tomorrow night's skills challenge, tonight was the only representation the Sixers had. Unfortunately, due to a lack of time together and the combined efforts of every guard the U.S. team had, Covington and Noel had little to work with.
Covington finished with just two points (on six shots) and only one shot attempt where there was an assist opportunity (he missed the three). Noel finished with four points (on five shots) and four rebounds. Both played limited minutes, and they only shared the floor for about a minute of game time. The US guards (especially Victor Oladipo) did very little passing, which didn't mesh well with the off-ball games of the two Sixers.
The standard devolving of the rookie-sophomore game never happened, because the players were trying too hard and the score stayed close throughout. The World's Best beat America's 121-112.
Either due to the format - which pitted Americans against international stars, or due to the new players in the game, there was more of an emphasis on defense than normal, and Noel did shine on that end (though not as much as his counterpart, Rudy Gobert). Giannis Antetokounmpo (who, for what it's worth, the Sixers decided not to draft twice) started off playing hard on both ends, and that began to rub off on everyone.
Covington and Noel got involved in the defense initiative though. Typical with his reach-happy tendencies, Covington recorded four steals in his 16+ minutes of game time. Noel recorded two blocks while being the only of the two American centers who did anything to dissuade a World player from getting into the lane.
Unfortunately for Nerlens, his performance might only be remembered for this rejection on his final shot attempt from Gobert, who really should have been named MVP over eventual winner and number-one-in-my-heart Andrew Wiggins. (Vine via Jazz writer Andy Bailey)
Yeah, so it wasn't a great night all in all for the Sixers, but it'll get better, especially if Sunday eventually becomes the marquis all-star weekend event for our fans.