NEW ORLEANS: Dion Waiters had a message to the Knicks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. As a result, the two young guards put on a memorable shooting display in Team Hill’s 142-136 victory in Friday’s Rising Stars game.
Waiters had 31 points and seven assists for the winning team, including 23 in the second half. But he missed out on the game MVP award because his teammate, the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond, had 30 points and 25 rebounds.
But Waiters and Hardaway had the MMM – Most Memorable Moments. The two took turns swishing 3-pointers in the face of the other during the second half of an otherwise sleepy game. Waiters said he had to get Hardaway back after he made a meaningless 3-pointer in the final minute of the Cavs’ embarrassing loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
“I told him I owed him,” Waiters said. “He knew I owed him.”
The scene was similar to last year’s Rising Stars game, when Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight continued scoring on each other. This time Irving was in the stands next to former Cavs teammate Daniel Gibson. Both guys were on their feet cheering during the shooting display, as were All-Stars James Harden and Kevin Durant.
As for the 3-pointer late in that easy Knicks win, Hardaway said he had to shoot because the shot clock was winding down, but he heard all about it from Waiters.
“We were just trying to do a great job of getting the fans involved,” Hardaway said. “It was kind of dead in there and we just wanted to start something, a little one-on-one battle here and there.”
Team Hill coach Nate McMillan wasn’t amused by the display, even in the exhibition game.
“They made some incredible shots down the stretch,” McMillan said. “Really, I would like to see a little more team play, a little more ball movement as opposed to Gladys Knight over here and the Pips over here still of basketball.”