All-Star Saturday Night brought another chapter in “What Can’t Evan Mobley Do?”
“We discuss this every day,” Cavs guard Darius Garland said. “He’s literally a unicorn. A 7-footer, 20 years old that can do everything. I’m glad to play with him. Happy to have him on my team so I don’t have to go against him.”
Cavs center Jarrett Allen added, “We always say he’s one of a kind. Defense, offense and now halfcourt.”
Mobley’s legend grew when he hit a halfcourt shot at the 5.5-second mark, beating the standard of 9.9 seconds by Cunningham of Team Rooks as Team Cavs won the Skills Challenge at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
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Asked how much he’d practiced those shots, Mobley said, “Not too much. We worked on it a little bit after practicing sometimes when we knew we were in the Skills Challenge, but not a lot.”
But the even-keeled Mobley was not surprised it went in.
“Nah. I felt it when it came off, you could see me, it looked good,” he said.
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The Cavs took on Team Rooks — Cunningham, Barnes and Josh Giddey — and Team Antetokounmpo — brothers Giannis, Thanasis and Alex.
The third overall pick from USC, Mobley helped the Cavs advance to the final, making his first five attempts in the weighted shooting competition. Garland led the way in that portion with 21 points, while Mobley added 18 and Allen five. Their total (44) beat Team Rooks (32) and Team Antetokounmpo (20).
Team Antetokounmpo tied Team Rooks with 88 points in the passing competition, the brothers winning the tiebreaker by connecting on the most outlet passes through the moving target.
The Rooks took the team relay as Garland missed all three of his 3-point chances.
“I’ve got two of the best players in the league on my team,” Garland said. “I had confidence throughout the whole way.”
Garland redeemed himself in the 3-point tiebreaker against Team Antetokounmpo to advance to the final. Garland connected after Thanasis went first and missed.
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Allen believes the close bond the Cavs share helped them prevail.
“Just the camaraderie that we have on and off the court … We had to go up against some brothers, so obviously they have a tighter bond than us,” Allen said. “But I still give us credit for how we compete for each other.”
With Mobley a member of the winning Rising Stars team and stealing the show Saturday, it was suggested he will draw more attention around the NBA.
“The whole league knows Evan right now if they’ve ever driven into the paint,” Allen said.
“He’s our Rookie of the Year," Garland chime
“I second that,” Allen said.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about the Cavs at www.beaconjournal.com/cavs. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Evan Mobley stars as Cavs win NBA All-Star Skills Challenge