Pacers' Mathurin wins Rising Stars MVP on All-Star Weekend

Mathurin trash talks Ivey: 'Even in Rising Stars, you can't guard me' (0:29)

Pacers' Bennedict Mathurin brings the trash talk to the Rising Stars game, telling Jaden Ivey he can't guard him. (0:29)

INDIANAPOLIS -- There would be no Victor Wembanyama-Chet Holmgren showdown thanks to Mac McClung and several members of the G League Ignite squad.

Instead, Bennedict Mathurin had a chance to be the hometown hero as the Indiana Pacers guard led Team Jalen to victory in Friday night's NBA Rising Stars game.

Mathurin scored 18 points and hit the game-winning shot in the semifinal appearance against Team Tamika before helping in a balanced effort against Team Detlef in the final.

For his efforts, Mathurin was named the game's MVP and drew numerous MVP chants from the Gainbridge Fieldhouse crowd throughout the games.

"It was fun. It was fun to see, to receive those chants," Mathurin said. "The Rising Stars Game, I feel like I haven't really gotten that feeling in the NBA. One day I want to be MVP, so it was great to have that feeling pretty early in my career."

Under the new Rising Stars format started in 2023, the rookies, sophomores and select G Leaguers are split into four teams. Teams play semifinal games against each other to a target score of 40 before the final goes to 25.

In the final, a rested Team Jalen quickly jumped out to a 10-4 lead and controlled the game from there finding a quick end with back-to-back 3-pointers by New Orleans Pelicans guard Jordan Hawkins and Oklahoma City forward Jalen Williams to win 26-13.

It's the second Rising Stars victory for Mathurin; he was on Team Pau who won the event in 2023.

Mathurin, who had teammates Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner and Obi Toppin sitting courtside, had a chance to win the semifinal with a pair of free throws in the first game, but the 82.5% free-throw shooter missed both.

The next time down, he made sure to make up for it with a turnaround jumper for the win.

"I saw a couple shots going in and I was like, it's a wrap," Mathurin said about what got him going in the first game. "If I'm being totally honest, it's also my city. I had to make sure I brought it home. So that was the main thing for me."

Wembanyama and Team Pau couldn't overcome Team Detlef in their semifinal, despite 11 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks from the Spurs' rookie. Team Detlef led by as many as 12, but the Gasol-led team cut the lead to three late. In the end, G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis, who is eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft, nailed a jumper to give his team the victory.

"It was fun," Buzelis said. "It was good to compete with the best guys in the world and show what kind of talent I have. Excited for the future."

On the game-winning shot, Buzelis pulled down an offensive rebound from Aldones Williams -- who is on a two-way contract with the Miami Heat -- after he missed a long 3-point attempt.

"I got the rebound and I've been working on my post game, my post fade," Buzelis said. "I feel like I can make that shot every time. So I took it, and it went in."

Despite the loss, the weekend isn't over for Wembanyama, who will participate in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.

"I mean it was kind of weird because at the same time I want to win and hate losing, but at the same time I have so much going on and that I'm happy that I just knocked one thing off the list this weekend," Wembanyama said.