2012 NBA Rising Stars Challenge: Kyrie Irving Leads Team Chuck To Halftime Lead

The NBA Rising Stars Challenge no longer pits the NBA's best rookies against its best sophomore, instead choosing to separate the players based on a draft run by Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. In the first half of tonight's game, it's Barkley's squad— Team Chuck— that leads 77-65 thanks to the play of Kyrie Irving and some sharp long range shooting.

Irving leads all scorers with 18 points, which came on 7-8 shooting and 4-4 from three point range. Irving's performance was augmented by fellow Team Chuckers DeMarcus Cousins (14 points), Paul George (13 points) and Evan Turner (12 points). Befitting an exhibition game, especially one between the youngest players in the league, Team Chuck shot 69% from the field in the half, including 6-12 from the field.

The scoring for Team Shaq was much more evenly spread out, with Cleveland Cavaliers' forward Tristan Thompson leading with 10 points, with Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Norris Cole all adding nine behind him. Team Shaq shot only 4-14 from three.

For updates on All-Star festivities, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage, head over to SB Nation's NBA news hub.

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