The T-Mobile Rookie Challenge featured a team of standout first-year players ('Rookies') against a team of standout second-year players ('Sophomores'). The game was divided into two twenty-minute halves, similar to college basketball. The participating players were chosen by voting among the league's assistant coaches. The Rookie team included five of the top ten picks from the 2009 NBA Draft: Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, James Harden and Brandon Jennings. The Sophomores team featured seven players from the previous Rookie Challenge game: Michael Beasley, Marc Gasol, Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez, O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. However, Rose was later replaced by Anthony Morrow due to Rose's selection to the Skills Challenge and the All-Star Game.
The head coaches for the Rookies and Sophomores teams were the lead assistants from the All-Star Game coaching staffs, Adrian Dantley from the Denver Nuggets and Patrick Ewing from the Orlando Magic. They were assisted by two All-Stars who served as assistant coach, Kevin Durant and Chris Bosh. Durant participated in his third successive Rookie Challenge game, after playing as a rookie and sophomore in the last two years. Bosh, a Dallas native, returned to his hometown where he grew up and starred in high school basketball. Dantley and Durant coached the Rookie team while Ewing and Bosh coached the Sophomore team.
At halftime, Sophomore's Eric Gordon and rookie DeMar DeRozan competed in the inaugural NBA All-Star Slam Dunk-In, a single-round slam dunk competition to determine the fourth participant of the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday. DeRozan, who was not part of the Rookie team, earned 61% of the fans vote to defeat Eric Gordon and won a spot to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest.
^DNP Derrick Rose was excused from the Rookie Challenge in consideration of being named to the All-Star Game and his participation in the Skills Challenge.
^REP Anthony Morrow was named as a replacement for Derrick Rose.
||Boxscore||Rookies 140, Sophomores 128||American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Referees: * #67 John Goble
|Scoring by half: 67–55, 73–73|
|Pts: Tyreke Evans 26
Rebs: DeJuan Blair 23
Asts: Brandon Jennings 8
|Pts: Russell Westbrook 40
Rebs: Beasley, Lopez 7 each
Asts: O. J. Mayo 10
The Rookies won the game 140–128, ending the Sophomores' seven games win streak and winning the Rookie Challenge for the first time since 2002. Rookie's Tyreke Evans was named MVP; he had 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. DeJuan Blair scored 22 points and notched a record 23 rebounds, becoming the first player to have a 20–20 game in the Rookie Challenge. Sophomore's Russell Westbrook had a game-high 40 points in a losing effort. It was the second time a player has reached the 40-point mark, since Kevin Durant had 46 points last year. The Rookies were up by 12 at halftime, the largest lead of the game. Westbrook, who had 11 points at halftime, took over and scored 29 points in the second half. But strong plays enabled the Rookies to keep the lead for the rest of the game.
Other articles related to "rookie challenge, rookie, challenge, rookies":
4th NBA Rookie Challenge Game ... Date February 8, 1997, at Gund Arena in Cleveland Coaches Eastern Conference Red Auerbach Western Conference Red Holzman MVP Allen Iverson, Philadelphia (26 minutes, 19 points) ...
... Paul followed up his impressive rookie campaign with a solid sophomore season ... named an All-Star in 2007, but he was named to replace Steve Nash in the 2007 PlayStation Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend ... He played in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and dished out 17 assists and had 9 steals, both T-Mobile Rookie Challenge records ...
... Hornets, he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds ranking second in ESPN's "Top 50" Rookie Ranking. 13, 2010, Blair became the first rookie in Spurs history to record a 20–20 (at least 20 of any two statistical categories) since Tim Duncan, when he finished with 28 points and 21 ... also the first time in 29 years that a rookie who was not drafted in the first round of the draft recorded a 20–20 ...
... Rookies Pos ... York Knicks PG Chris Paul New Orleans Hornets PG Deron Williams Utah Jazz February 16 Rookies 114, Sophomores 155 Thomas and Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada Referees TNT Scoring by half 48-77, 66-78 Pts ... Lee, who added 11 rebounds and four assists, took home MVP of the 2007 Rookie Challenge ...
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