Wall Wins Rookie MVP at All-Star Event

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A.P.
    during the second half of the Rookie Challenge game during the NBA basketball All-Star Weekend Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    When John Wall turned the Rookie Challenge into a personal playmaking clinic, his former Kentucky teammate and his fellow No. 1 pick eagerly soaked up everything he had to give.

           Wall racked up a record 22 assists to win the MVP award, Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins had 33 points and 14 rebounds, and the rookies rallied to beat the sophomores 148-140 at the NBA's
    All-Star weekend Friday night.
          
    Blake Griffin scored 14 points for the rookies in front of the high-flying Clippers forward's ecstatic home crowd, sticking to his commitment to play in the game even after making the West team for
    Sunday's All-Star game.
          
    All three rookie stars were determined to give a little something extra, and they were rewarded with a win.
          
    ``Most people that have a good game here, it gives them confidence going into the second half of the season,'' Wall said.
          
    Before the game, the Washington guard looked up the Rookie Challenge's assists record - 17, by Chris Paul in 2007 - and told Cousins he planned to beat it. Wall scored 12 points when he wasn't repeatedly setting up his fellow rookies for acrobatic dunks and wide-open jumpers.
          
    With relentless offense from Wall and Cousins, who teamed up for one season at Kentucky, the newcomers won the lighthearted contest between the NBA's best rookies and second-year players for the second straight year.
          
    ``We were trying to work together,'' Cousins said. ``He wanted to break the assist record, and I wanted to be MVP.''
          
    To the accompaniment of supersonic screams from thousands of children crammed into Staples Center's lower bowl, both teams went through the usual array of alley-oops, breakaway jams and matador defense before the rookies pulled away in the final minutes.
          
    Wall created the game's biggest highlight with a jaw-dropping bounce pass to Griffin for an electrifying dunk.
          
    ``Whenever you see (No.) 32 in a Clippers uniform out of the side, you basically throw it anywhere in the gym,'' Wall said. ``I knew if I bounced it high enough, he will just attack the play.''