The third-ever NBA Africa Game came at the perfect time for basketball fans worldwide.
While we are nearly two months removed from the NBA Finals ending and weeks away from training camp beginning, some of the league's top talent took the floor in Pretoria, South Africa in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The game, which is aired live on NBA TV Canada, featured a Team Africa vs. Team World format. As most NBA showcases, things were lax to begin before the intensity ramped up in the second half.
Philadelphia 76ers centre Joel Embiid (Cameroon) led a furious second half comeback for Team Africa, who trailed by as many as 12 throughout the game. Embiid finished the game with 24 points (on 9-for-18 shooting), eight rebounds and four assists, but it wasn't enough.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari (Italy) seemingly had an answer for every comeback attempt made by Team Africa. Gallinari hit clutch shot after clutch shot, leading Team World with 23 points (on 9-for-10 shooting), eight rebounds and three assists. Five other members of Team World finished in double figures: Harrison Barnes (USA) scored 14 points, JaVale McGee (USA), Hassan Whiteside (USA) and Marvin Williams (USA) each added 11 points while Khris Middleton (USA) contributed a clutch 10 points.
Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (France, parent from Democratic Republic of the Congo) was Team Africa's second-leading scorer with 16 points. Luol Deng (South Sudan) and Evan Fournier (France, parent from Algeria) were Team Africa's other double-digit scorers. Raptors big men Serge Ibaka (Republic of the Congo) and Pascal Siakam (Cameroon) each had notable moments for Team Africa and combined to score 11 points and grab 10 rebounds.
If you missed any of the action, here are some of the best highlights and notable moments from this year's game…
Team Africa vs. Team World: Scores, highlights, updates
2018 NBA Africa Game Rosters | Final Box
Final: Team World 96, Team Africa 92
1:16 p.m. ET - Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 23 points (on 9-for-10 shooting) and eight rebounds, is your Manute Bol MVP award winner.
23 PTS / 9-10 FG / 8 REB- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) August 4, 2018
🏆 #NBAAfricaGame MVP pic.twitter.com/Ujlt7Uv5R3
1:14 p.m. ET - A Joel Embiid 3-pointer falls short and Team World escapes with a four-point win.
#TeamWORLD holds on to defeat #TeamAFRICA 96-92 in the 2018 #NBAAfricaGame! @JoelEmbiid: 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists@gallinari8888: 23 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists pic.twitter.com/EOuNJDSvji- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
1:10 p.m. ET - Down three, Team Africa gets two good 3-point looks to tie, but fail to knock one down. Khris Middleton steps up to the line where he goes 1-for-2 to give Team World a four-point lead with less than six seconds remaining.
1:08 p.m. ET - Team Africa forces a turnover but fails to capitalize as they lose the ball.
Team World can't convert and Team Africa will have one possession to tie it.
1:05 p.m. ET - Two free throws from Joel Embiid make it a three-point game once again, but Danilo Gallinari responds with a step back 3-pointer. Clippers fans should be excited
Like clockwork, an and-one from Embiid cuts the deficit to three once again. It's 95-92 with under a minute remaining.
1 minute to play... #TeamWORLD leads #TeamAFRICA 95-92 on ESPN2! pic.twitter.com/NxNeUSv3xi- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
1:03 p.m. ET - Here we go! Team Africa makes it a one-possession game with a layup from Al Farouq-Aminu.
Danilo Gallinari answers with a jumper for his 20th point of the night. It's 92-87 with 1:40 remaining in the showcase.
1:01 p.m. ET - Khris Middleton again! After two free throws from Luol Deng cut the deficit to five, a jumper from Middleton gives Team World a 90-83 lead.
12:59 p.m ET - The intensity is picking up and a deep 3-pointer from Khris Middleton and an emphatic slam from JaVale McGee brings the Team World lead back up to nine with under four minutes left to play.
12:57 p.m. ET - Things are getting interesting late as Team Africa uses a 6-0 run to the deficit to four. Team World leads 83-79 with 4:28 remaining in the game
12:48 p.m. ET - A Harrison Barnes dunk in transition brings his point total to 14 as Team World maintains a solid lead. It's 82-73 with just under six minutes remaining in the game.
Rudy Gay threads the needle to Harrison Barnes for #TeamWORLD finish! #NBAAfricaGame pic.twitter.com/2AQPx7TBZJ- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
12:44 p.m. ET - In between quarters, four Jr. NBA players take on Joel Embiid for charity. The result? An impressive mid-range jumpshot from a young player and a vow to donate 200,000 Rand to the Nelson Mandela Foundation
For 200,000 Rand to the Nelson Mandela Foundation from the @nba & @thenbpa! #ThisIsWhyWePlay @JoelEmbiid @officialmutombo #NBAAfricaGame pic.twitter.com/bdPgiBvfwu- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
End of third quarter: Team World 78, Team Africa 68
12:41 p.m. ET - The third quarter closes with a Bismack Biyombo layup to cut Team World's lead to 10. The Hornets centre now has nine points in the game.
After 3 on ESPN2, #TeamWORLD leads #TeamAFRICA 78-68 in the 2018 #NBAAfricaGame!- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
Gallinari: 17 points, 6 rebounds
Embiid: 15 points, 5 rebounds pic.twitter.com/aXVoibbGB9
12:39 p.m. ET - Hassan Whiteside continues to show off his range. A 3-pointer and a mid-range jumpshot bring his point total to 11 and Team World's lead to 12 with under a minute left in the third frame.
12:31 p.m. ET - Midway through the third quarter, Team World holds a 66-57 lead over Team Africa. While Joel Embiid continues to electrify the crowd, the rest of Team Africa is still struggling to get going.
12:21 p.m. ET - A step back jumper from Joel Embiid gets a number of "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd. Embiid now has 12, but Team Africa still trails by seven.
Behind-the-back, step-back! #NBAAfricaGame pic.twitter.com/Ak4sSbiRzj- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
12:17 p.m. ET - The second half is underway as Team Africa looks to continue to chip away at Team World's lead.
Halftime: Team World 54, Team Africa 47
12:00 p.m. ET - A smooth isolation jumper by Joel Embiid cuts the deficit to seven at the end of a first half that had five lead changes and 10 ties.
Embiid now has 10 points and is one of four double-figure scorers so far. Team Africa's Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and Team World's Harrison Barnes each have 11 points while Danilo Gallinari leads all scorers with 12.
11:53 a.m. ET - Gallinari brings his point total to 12 in a big way with a two-handed slam. Under three minutes remain in the second quarter and Team World's lead is back up to 12.
11:48 a.m. ET - 4:03 remains in the first half and Team World holds a 45-35 lead over Team Africa. Team World's Danilo Gallinari is 4-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from deep - he leads all scorers with 10 points.
11:45 a.m. ET - A JaVale McGee 3-pointer (yes, you read that right) followed by a Khris Middleton breakaway dunk gives Team world a 12-point lead midway through the second quarter.
11:40 a.m. ET - Two WNBA legends take the floor as Swin Cash checks in for Team World and Clarisse Machanguana has come in for Team Africa.
.@SwinCash of #TeamWORLD and Clarisse Machanguana of #TeamAFRICA check in at the #NBAAfricaGame!- WNBA (@WNBA) August 4, 2018
Watch the former #WNBA stars on ESPN2! pic.twitter.com/usitPS9LEh
End of first quarter: Team World 27, Team Africa 20
11:35 a.m. ET - One quarter is in the books and Team World closes on an 11-3 run to take a seven-point lead. The first frame was full of excitement as there were 10 lead changes.
After 1 on ESPN2, #TeamWORLD leads #TeamAFRICA 27-20!@hbarnes: 9 points, 6 rebounds@LuolDeng9: 6 points#NBAAfricaGame- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
11:26 a.m. ET - Under three minutes remain in the first quarter and Team Africa leads 17-16. Team World's Harrison Barnes leads all scorers with nine points, while Team Africa is led by Luol Deng's six points
11:15 a.m. ET - Serge Ibaka is off to quite the start - the Raptors big man has five early points and one emphatic slam
Serge Ibaka coming at ya! #PhantomCam #TeamAfrica #NBAAfricaGame pic.twitter.com/98r2sjnNmM- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
11:11 a.m. ET - The ball is tipped and things are underway in Pretoria. Danilo Gallinari is the first to get on the board
Basketball Without Borders alum Danilo Gallinari opens up scoring! #NBAAfricaGame ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/yVw2h9x5yy- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
10:48 a.m ET - Team World has taken the floor for warm ups and Lakers centre JaVale McGee is already flying high
Off the window for @JaValeMcGee in 🇿🇦!#NBAAfricaGame to tip off at 11am/et on ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/lqIz1uax96- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018
10:24 a.m. ET - We're less than an hour away from tip-off and Team Africa is getting loose
#TeamAfrica pre-game MOOD! pic.twitter.com/R9ddFs0TtP- NBA (@NBA) August 4, 2018