Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 2/24/12
It was one of those leads embarrassingly large in a game that means little which is a breeding ground for cockiness, and the NBA couldn't have picked a better GM to hold that lead. Charles Barkley reclined on the sidelines at the Amway Center in the second half of Friday night's BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, his team holding a lead it never once relinquished before going on to a 146-133 win. While his counterpart Shaquille O'Neal spoke seriously on camera, Barkley was one part snark and another part self-assured. It was only too fitting. "I know what I'm doing. I love the team I have," Barkley said. "I got every player I wanted." That list of players included Timberwolves' rookie forward Derrick Williams, who played just over 18 minutes and finished the night with two points and three rebounds. Team Chuck, as Barkley's team was called, was led offensively by Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, who finished with 34 points and nine assists. Smug as he might have been, Barkley attributed his team's success to the mix of personalities he selected in the draft, a team he said looked great on paper. "There's a reason my team is winning," Barkley said. "It ain't about Xs and Os; it's about Jims and Joes, and I like my Jims and Joes." Ricky Rubio, the other Minnesota player competing in the game, had a more noteworthy performance than did Williams. As one of the dominant point guards on Team Shaq, Rubio logged 12 points, seven assists and three rebounds in 21 minutes on the court. "I'm glad to be here, too," Rubio said pregame. "Minnesota gave me that opportunity to play with them, and I'm so happy to be here." Ultimately, O'Neal's decision to select five guards might have hurt his team, which trailed through the night. In fact, two of those guards, Jeremy Lin and Rubio, announced pregame in a staged finger-pointing that O'Neal hadn't even come to their morning practice. But it mattered little; neither did Rubio's points or Williams's struggles. It was all in good fun, a game made for little more than good television. From Barkley's comments to the bright orange shoes, from Rubio's mock criticism to the combined 289 points, it was a flashy preview, a fuzzy picture of what might be the future All Stars of the NBA. Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
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