The second installment of the NBA Africa Game had a nice Boston Celtics touch this year as Jaylen Brown took the trip out to Johannesburg to represent Team World in their yearly duel with Team Africa.
Team World came into the game with a stacked roster. It featured one of the sport’s all-time greats in Dirk Nowitzki as well as All-Star caliber talents Kristaps Porzingis, DeMarcus Cousins and Kemba Walker. Team Africa also had some recognizable names on the roster as well such as Serge Ibaka, Victor Oladipo and Emmanuel Mudiay.
The game was tied at 77 entering the fourth quarter and Team World found a spark in the Celtics 20-year old wing. He dropped 12 points in the fourth quarter – including a personal 7-0 run in the middle of the quarter that helped push Team World’s lead to nine at the time. Brown also finished off a thunderous ally-oop off a nice feed from Porzingis with under three minutes to go as Team Africa was quickly falling out of it. By the time the clock hit zero, Team World had comfortably won 108-97.
Brown finished with a team high 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting (60.0%) while pitching in with three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Cousins, Walker, Porzingis, Kyle Lowry, Andre Drummond and Courtney Lee all scored in double-figures as Team World featured a very balanced scoring attack.
Despite winding up on the losing end of things, Oladipo took home MVP honors after he dropped 28 points and snagged nine rebounds. Mudiay chased a triple-double for Team Africa by finishing with 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Once again, the NBA Africa game featured some pretty entertaining basketball. The league also held this event two years ago in 2015 as Team World squeaked out a 101-97 win over Team Africa, a game that saw then-Boston small forward Evan Turner score 14 points, grab seven assists and dish out eight rebounds for Team World. Marcus Smart was supposed to play, but a hand injury he has suffered in summer league that year kept him out of action.
Hopefully this becomes an annual event because it’s honestly better than the NBA All-Star Game. Sure, the game has always lacked the top level players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but both rosters still have enough talent to ensure that it’s good basketball and – most importantly – they’re competing on BOTH ends of the floor.