That's the bottom line. It wasn't the Nets beating the Spurs, but Team World beating Team Africa in the first NBA game played on the continent. Lionel Hollins team had a big run, powered by deep shooting, to beat Gregg Popovich's team,101-97 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Team Africa was in the lead at halftime but Team World rallied late in the fourth quarter, going on a 14-0 run to seal a the comeback victory. For the game, Team World shot 38.7 percent from three, compared to 28 percent for Team Africa, helping the winners overcome a 67-49 rebounding deficit. Lesson there for you, coach. No Nets participated in the game although Billy King served as GM of the losing team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was top-scorer with 22 points for Team Africa, followed by the Heat's Luol Deng with 20. For the winners, Jeff Green had 19 and Bradley Beal 18. The biggest two points, however, were scored by a "ringer," 52-year-old Hakeem Olajuwon. Wearing a throwback Rockets uniform, Olajuwon took Nik Vucevic into the low post and pulled a Dream move out of his back pocket to score on a short range jumper that kissed the rim before dropping in.
"I made the move, I made the shot, it went in," said Olajuwon.
Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo were inserted in a surprise move that nearly brought the house down at Ellis Park.
For Hollins and King, the week included some emotional moments unrelated to the court action. The most emotional, wrote Shaun Powell, was an earlier visit to a camp for children.
Many players and coaches choked up while visiting the SOS Village, where they were swarmed by orphaned and abandoned children.
Their stories and their plight were heart-wrenching. Lionel Hollins, the Nets' coach, left with thoughts of adoption.
At the end of the game, the boxscore mattered less than the experience which may have started as marketing move to bring the NBA to soccer-crazed Africa, but ended as feel-good story on a lot of levels.
- A victory for all in Africa - Shaun Powell - NBA.com
- NBA's current, former stars put on a show in Africa - AP
Boxscore - Team World vs. Team Africa - NBA.com