Jazz guard Ronnie Brewer and forward Paul Millsap both were named Wednesday to take part in the NBA's annual rookie-sophomore challenge game, part of the league's upcoming All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.
Both will play in the Feb. 15 TNT-televised game for the sophomore team, which also includes Portland teammates Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Toronto's Andrea Bargnani, Jordan Farmar of the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis' Rudy Gay, Cleveland's Daniel Gibson and Boston's Rajon Rondo.
For Brewer, a first-round lottery pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and the Jazz's current starting shooting guar, it will be his first appearance in the game.
"Going from last year ... it's definitely an improvement for me," said Brewer, who played sporadically last season, appearing in just 56 games in his first NBA out of the University of Arkansas. "That's the kind of improvements that I want to make, and hopefully each year I can."
For Millsap, a 2006 second-round draft choice and the Jazz's backup power forward, it will be the second time he's played in the game.
He scored 22 points for the rookies 155-114 loss last year in Las Vegas in the same game that Jazz point guard Deron Williams, playing for the sophomores, strained his groin, an injury that wound up costing him two regular-season games.
"It's a great feeling," said Millsap, a Louisiana native who played at Louisiana Tech. "It's a great opportunity to play in front of my family that hasn't seen me play (in the NBA)."
NBA assistant coaches voted on the participants, including a rookie squad that includes Memphis teammates Mike Conley and Juan Carlos Navarro, Seattle teammates Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, Atlanta's Al Horford, Toronto's Jamario Moon, Houston's Luis Scola, New Jersey's Sean Williams and Milwaukee's Yi Jianlian.
The sophomores hold a 6-2 series lead in the annual exhibition, and have won five straight.
Meanwhile, Jazz backup point guard Jason Hart will not play in the Jazz's home game tonight against the New York Knicks because of continuing inflammation in his lower back but he will travel with the club Thursday for a back-to-back road set that opens Friday night at Washington.It will be the third straight game missed by Hart, whose minutes have been assumed by usual No. 3 point Ronnie Price.
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