MCW gets Rising Stars, Skills Challenge teams


MCW gets Rising Stars, Skills Challenge teams

Michael Carter-Williams has a new team ... at least for one night.

The Sixers' rookie point guard was selected by Team Webber on Thursday night for the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Game. The game is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14 to kick off the league's All-Star Weekend. Carter-Williams will also participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Feb. 15.

Carter-Williams was selected third in a pool of 18 rookies and sophomores. He went after New Orleans' Anthony Davis and Portland's Damian Lillard.

Carter-Williams is having a strong first year in the league. He is regarded as the front runner for Rookie of the Year by averaging 17.2 points, 6.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game.

MCW is joined on Team Webber by Davis, New York's Tim Hardaway Jr., Utah's Trey Burke, Boston's Jared Sullinger, Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee, Orlando's Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City's Steven Adams and Boston's Kelly Olynyk.

They will face off against Team Hill, which consists of Lillard, Washington's Bradley Beal, Detroit's Andre Drummond, Golden State's Harrison Barnes, Houston's Terrence Jones, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas, Cleveland's Dion Waiters and Atlanta's Pero Antic.

The Taco Bells Skills Challenge is introducing a new format that features four teams of two players each competing in two rounds of a timed relay-style course. Players show off their dribbling, passing and shooting in the competition. The fastest time from each conference advances to the final before the two teams from the East and the West battle to determine a winner.

For the Skills Challenge, Carter-Williams will team up with Antetokounmpo, Oladipo and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan for the Eastern Conference.

Lillard, Burke, Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson and Phoenix's Goran Dragic make up the Western Conference squad.

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Report: Sixers exec Jason Wiley led meeting on national anthem issue

Report: Sixers exec Jason Wiley led meeting on national anthem issue

The Sixers' meeting on Thursday to address the national anthem situation on opening night was led by VP of Content and Integrated Marketing Jason Wiley, John Gonzalez reported.

Wiley and team executives decided not to have Sevyn Streeter perform the national anthem because she wore a "We Matter" shirt, according to the report. The team had concerns Streeter would have further protests. 

A member of the Sixers' dance team performed in her place.

Wiley helped book Streeter, according to the report, and had previously worked for Bad Boy Records and had music industry contacts.

CBS3 reported Thursday that Streeter had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance (see story).

The Sixers discussed the incident and are considering options on how to address it (see story).

“I think the team, not only do we want to speak up on the matter that happened yesterday, but I feel like we’re now starting to push, like it’s not just about saying something, it’s about making a difference,” Nik Stauskas said. “It’s about going out there and doing something. So we don’t really know what we’re going to do yet, but I know a lot of guys on this team are eager to go out there and make a difference one way or another.”