Team World scored a 108-97 victory Saturday over Team Africa in the 2017 NBA Africa Game at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Andre Drummond led the charge for the winning side with 14 points and 13 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins also put up a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, while Jaylen Brown (15 points), Kristaps Porzingis (14), Courtney Lee (13), Kyle Lowry (13) and Kemba Walker (10) all reached double figures in scoring.
Victor Oladipo shined for the African team with 28 points and nine rebounds, earning him MVP honors for the game. Emmanuel Mudiay nearly posted a triple-double as he tallied 22 points, nine assists and eight boards.
It’s the second straight win for Team World, which won the inaugural NBA Africa Game 101-97 in 2015.
Players from both sides spent the week leading up to the exhibition game working with Basketball Without Borders, a community outreach program aimed toward helping grow the sport internationally while encouraging “positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness.”
Shaun Powell of NBA.com passed along comments from NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, a Congo native, who discussed the impact of the league’s efforts.
“When I see the turnout and the level of interest, it brings tears to my eyes. I thank the commissioner for bringing the NBA here. I think the next step is to see how many more basketball academies will open. Here in Africa, 65 percent of the population is under age of 16. We cannot allow them to not learn how to play the game of basketball. A lot would love to try the game. They want to be part of it. They think, ‘maybe someone will discover me.'”
Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement about the sport’s growth around the continent and the current players’ decision to buy into the trip.
“Basketball is witnessing explosive growth in Africa,” he said. “Our return to Johannesburg this summer is part of the league’s continued commitment to bring the authentic NBA experience to fans around the world.
“I would like to thank the NBPA for their participation and for being terrific partners on this game and surrounding events.”
Saturday’s showcase took on the vibe of an All-Star Game with limited defense and plenty of opportunities for the players to show off their talent in front of an energetic African crowd.
The NBA highlighted Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers kicking off the contest in style:
Team World raced out to an early advantage by outscoring Team Africa 33-19 in the first quarter. The African squad bounced back with a 28-17 second to get back within three at halftime, though.
Team World threatened to pull away early in the fourth quarter, but Team Africa responded with a 7-0 to keep the game within striking distance late. Thabo Sefolosha even had an open look to give the host team a lead with just under five minutes left, but he couldn’t connect.
The African team never get over the hump as the World group maintained the narrow lead and held on for the win.
NBA Africa spotlighted the MVP trophy presentation:
The game itself was secondary to everything else the players took part in during the past week in Africa. That said, being able to cap the trip with a competitive battle not decided until the final minute was a perfect way to complete the visit.
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