First Night of All Star Weekend: Durant's Stage

Scott McGrath@smcgrath5Correspondent IFebruary 14, 2009

The first night of the festivities kicked off with the All-Star Celebrity Game.

Some celebrities playing were former NBA greats like Dominique Wilkins and Dan Majerle, WNBA greats such as Lisa Leslie and Kara Lawson, a few Harlem Globetrotters, and others including Terrell Owens and Donald Faison.

However, after some fun with the celebrities, and with Mike Breen who was a referee for the special occasion, it was time to move on to the current pros with the Rookie Challenge.

Headlining the Rookie versus Sophomore game were rookies Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, and sophomores Kevin Durant and Rodney Stuckey.

As is usual in most All Star Game events, defense was lax in the game to allow for a more offensive showcase. The rookies held a commanding six to ten point lead for almost the entirety of the game, until the sophomores, led by Durant, took over with around eight minutes left in the second half (the game is played with college-style timing).

Carrying the sophomore team on his back, Durant hit 30 points in the second half, and finished with 46 for the game and was named the MVP, after the sophomores won in a close battle 122-116.

Durant's 46 points set a record for most points in a Rookie Challenge game. This game was probably the first, or one of the first, Rookie Challenges that was so close that last second fouling was taken by the Rookies (or it could have just been a bit of a rivalry between the teams' player-coaches Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard).

Even with all the excitement of the night, the weekend has just gotten underway. Tomorrow night will be the traditional "All-Star Saturday Night" featuring player challenges. These challenges will feature the "classics" such as the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest. However, this year there is a new addition that will make the night all the better: H-O-R-S-E.

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