In typical Nets fashion, Allen and Kurucs fly under the radar in the Rising Stars Challenge

B

Final: 02/15/2019

W 161 144

After years of rebuilding, the Brooklyn Nets are reaping the rewards of the Sean Marks rebuild. With four players in Charlotte for All-Star Weekend — two in the Rising Stars Challenge — the young Nets are making a name for themselves.

Tonight, we got to see Rodions Kurucs and Jarrett Allen “battle” it out in the opening act of the weekend’s festivities — they would not disappoint.

Notorious for its lack of defense, the NBA’s most talented rookies and sophomores kept up the tradition. The game, per usual, mainly featured dunks and three-pointers — much to Frank Kaminsky’s chagrin.

ICYMI: Kaminsky — the subject of buyout rumors — desperately wanted some defense. He was at the wrong game.

After one half of play, Team USA led Team World by a score of 83-79.

In eight minutes of action in the first half, Rodions Kurucs drained two threes. Jarrett Allen, on the other hand, missed his only shot attempt and grabbed two boards.

The first half did feature a Net vs. Net moment. Allen swatted away Kurucs’ late buzzer-beater three-point attempt.

Come the second half, Jarrett Allen released the Fro.

After sending back a Josh Okogie layup, the Fro rejected Ben Simmons’s dunk attempt.

Add yet another All-Star to his collection.

To open the third quarter, Team World caught fire — they would only trail by six points entering the fourth.

But behind the scoring efforts of Kyle Kuzma and Jason Tatum, Team USA pulled away in the fourth. Kuzma’s 35 points led both teams, helping Team USA win 161-144.

For Team World, Ben Simmons led all scorers with 28 points. Aside from Allen’s two blocks, he and Kurucs received few opportunities in the second half.

However, the Fro did get on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws.

Kurucs and Allen combined for just 11 shots attempts, playing a combined 31 minutes. They played second fiddle to stars such as Kuzma, Tatum, Simmons, and Markannen.

Despite limited playing time, Kurucs and Allen showed no signs of fear in front of a national audience.

It’ll be Joe Harris’ turn tomorrow night, as he will compete in the Three-Point Contest. D’Angelo Russell will be on the big stage Sunday night, playing in the first All-Star game of his career.

It’s a good time to be a Nets fan, and the future is even brighter.

Jarrett Allen

B+

The stats: 2 PTS, 0-2 FG, 2-2 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 15 MIN

In his second season, Jarrett Allen’s established himself as an elite rim protector.

In addition to his improvement on the boards, Allen is second in the NBA in dunks made.

After a quiet first half, the Fro blocked a Ben Simmons poster-attempt.

Aside from his two blocks, Allen mustered just two points and failed to make a shot from the field. Then again, he had just two attempts.

It’s nice to see Allen recognized for his talent — even though his first name wasn’t spelled correctly.

Rodions Kurucs

B+

The stats: 10 PTS, 4-9 FG, 2-6 3PT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 2 TO, 16 MIN

Rodions Kurucs was supposed to be playing for the Long Island Nets this season. Instead, the 2018 second rounder is representing Brooklyn during All-Star Weekend.

Tonight, Kurucs, who established himself as a fan-favorite, proved himself on the big stage. Scoring-wise, Kurucs drained two threes from deep and even got to the rim a couple times.

We also got to see Air Latvia in action.

In his young NBA career, Kurucs has averaged just 0.7 assists per game. Tonight, he surpassed his career-high of four assists with a five-assist performance.

Too bad he did it in an exhibition game.

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