BROOKLYN, NY.- The billion dollar Barclays Center arena and home to the Brooklyn Nets hosted this year's Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday. The night was filled with highlight reel dunks, blocks, and great basketball from some of the greatest basketball players from around the world. Not to mention, a star-studded audience with the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, C.C Sebathia, J.R. Smith, Busta Rhymes, LaLa Anthony, Victor Cruz, Spike Lee and many more.
Oh, and of course the founder - his airness, Michael Jordan also attended. Two great games, preceding an equally exciting International game, were played followed by a concert by recording artist Drake which ended with the Jordan Brand Classic All-stars joining him onstage.
Overall, the Jordan Brand Classic lived up to the hype. In the Regional game, the White team topped the Black team 114-102 in a game that was much closer than the final score exhibits and in the finally, the West edged the East in a nail biter, 102-98.
THE REGIONAL GAME
The Regional game started off slow. In the first two minutes, both teams turned the ball over on consecutive possessions until the Black team's Tyler Roberson went on a 4-0 run by himself while opening the game with a ferocious two handed put back slam. Team Black got off to a quick 10-2 lead. Roberson continued his early dominant play and after only four minutes he and his team found themselves with a commanding 18-2 lead. The white team struggled-an air ball free throw and a turnover by Hassan Martin-who's heading to Rhode Island-only escalated them eventually calling for a White team timeout.
The White team came out of their timeout roaring on two consecutive buckets by Florida Int. bound Jaquan Lynch and a pair of lay-ups by NYC player of the year, Jon Severe, fresh off the bench. Both teams began trading three point shots but the black team managed to keep their lead in the 10 point range despite the improved play of the White team. With 12:42 remaining in the first half, Black team, future University of Dayton point guard, Dayshon Smith, dished off a beautiful assist to Austin Colbert for an alley oop that got the crowd out of their seats making the score 26-13. At this point, it appeared that the Black team was going to dominate the game; the White team could not buy a basket and St. Joseph's signee, DeAndre Bembry, seemingly could not miss from anywhere and continuously rose above the rim for dunks, including highlight reel one handed slam.
After Kyle Washington's flush and more contributions from the likes of Severe and Lynch, the White team found a way to inch back in to the game and with 4:53 remaining, they knotted the game at 44 apiece. Despite an impressive 18 point first half by Bembry, the White team went in to the locker room at half time ahead, barely, 56-53.
The second half started off with a dunk by Martin off a pass from Rutgers bound Shane Rector. Black team continued to rally behind the play of Bembry and the witty passing of Smith. At one point, the Black team held an 87-78 lead with 3:14 remaining. However, the White team did not quit and behind the much needs contributions from Shamiek Sheppard, Washington, and an all around team effort, they managed to rally back and secure a victiory.
Bembry and Martin received MVP honors. Bembry had 26 points 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Martin had 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. White team's Severe had 16 points and 5 rebounds; Black team's Dayshon Smith also had a solid outing with 11 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds.
After the game, NYCHoops.net asked Bembry what he enjoyed most about the game and he said: "I enjoyed being able to play side by side with all of these guys; there is some incredible talent here on both sides and it was an honor."
THE NATIONAL GAME
The National game started off with a bang-a put back slam by the East's, Florida Gator, Chris Walker. He went on to score his team's first 6 points and they led 6-0 early on. Both teams got off to slow scoring wise, they struggled with turnovers and were a bit careless with fouls. After a slam dunk by the West's Indiana signee, Noah Vonleh, his team led 11-10 with 14:17 remaining. With 7:56 remaining the East appeared to be gaining momentum off of a 7-0 run capped off by a slam by big man Andrew Wiggins-who is currently undecided-and a 3-ball by Syracuse bound, Tyler Ennis. Wiggins also wooed the crowd with an emphatic rejection at the basket-at this point the East led 26-20.
Later in the half, both teams started reverting back to turnover plagued ball and missed shots along with giving up easy dunks as a result of poor-or lack thereof-defense. The West capitalized down this stretch and held the lead at halftime, 42-38.
The second half started off with a trey by the East's Andrew Harrison-heading to Kentucky next season. Both teams would continue to go back and forth. There were over 5 lead changes throughout the half. Wiggins soon took over the game along with teammates Walker and Julius Randle who caught several ally oops thanks to the nifty dimes dished from their point guard, Ennis-he had 6 assists in the game. With 28.5 seconds remaining, Washington bound, Nigel Williams-Goss got fouled on a lay-up, and converted on a three point play to put the West up 99-96. Ennis tried to respond with a three but to no avail. It appeared that the game was a wrap until the West turned the ball over out of bounds on an inbounds pass that would soon be ruled West possession through a controversial call by the referees. The West never looked back.
West team's Jabari Parker and the East's Randle took home MVP trophies. Parker finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Randle finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds. West's Williams-Goss also contributed 17 points and 4 assists. While the East's Wiggins netted 19 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
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