Cavaliers center Evan Mobley, right, will join Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen to represent the team in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at All-Star Saturday Night.John Kuntz, cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — One of the headline events of NBA All-Star Weekend takes place tonight in Cleveland with All-Star Saturday Night. The event starts at 8 p.m. Eastern at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The night features three events — the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest and the AT&T Slam Dunk contest. Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley will be part of Team Cavs in the new-look skills challenge.
What: 2022 NBA All-Star Saturday Night.
When: Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.
Time: 8 p.m. Eastern.
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland (19,432).
Announcers: Brian Anderson, Reggie Miller, Dwyane Wade and Stephanie Ready.
For Mobley, this will be his second and final event of his first All-Star Weekend. Check out some of what Chris Fedor of cleveland.com wrote about the impression Mobley left in Friday night’s Rising Stars challenge.
Win the crowd and you’ll win your freed … er, MVP trophy.
This is Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, not the Coliseum. This is Cleveland, not Rome. This is basketball, not the movie Gladiator.
The clamoring for Cavaliers’ Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro — both part of title-winning Team Barry at Friday night’s revamped Rising Stars — began before their first game. Standing on the stage behind the basket, wearing those wine and gold warmups, smoke billowing, lights flickering, the two youngsters soaked in the blaring ovation and saluted the crowd.
Then the game started, and the roars had a bit more oomph.
At one point during the three-game tournament, chants of “Mob-ley, Mob-ley” rang through the packed arena. Each time Mobley or Okoro rocked the rim — eight dunks in all — the crowd perked up. When Mobley opened the title game with a smooth side-step 3, Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen — all sitting courtside — were delighted. The cheers for the 26 other players didn’t come close.
Mobley and Okoro were the main attractions. These were their fans. This was their stage.
“When we all walked out and they introduced us, it felt like the big stage because all the fans were yelling really loud, especially for us two, because we’re Cleveland Cavs,” Mobley said following Team Barry’s 25-20 victory over Team Isiah in the final. “Definitely felt like it was like a big stage.”
“The fans were engaged to it,” Okoro gushed. “Cleveland showed out for real.”
Rising Stars — the annual showcase of the league’s best rookies and sophomores — introduced a new format this year, switching to a single-elimination mini-tournament. There were three games — two semifinals and the championship. The first two played to a target score of 50 while the second went to 25 as the league celebrates its 75th anniversary.
The teams were coached by Hall of Famer Rick Barry and former All-Stars Isiah Thomas, James Worthy and Gary Payton.
“This is my first year, so I didn’t really get to experience a different format,” Mobley said. “It was fun to play in this year. It was a great experience. It was fun coming out here and showing out for the home crowd.”
In the two games, Mobley totaled 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and a block. Okoro finished with six points, one rebound and two assists.
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