Well, that was stellar! The 72nd NBA All-Star game saw Team Giannis scoop up the 184 – 175 win against Team LeBron.
That was also the first loss for LeBron James’ team in the last six exhibition games.
It also saw Team Giannis’ Jayson Tatum steal the show with a stonking All-Star Record 55 points, sealing the deal on their victory and winning the MVP award.
Before we get into how the game went down, let’s take a brief look at the format of the All-Star game and what’s the purpose of it.
Playing for Charity
The game comprises two teams made up of the selected 24 All-Stars split between the two conferences and making up the Team LeBron or Team Giannis (12 per team).
The All-Star game is made up of four quarters. The first three are of 12 minutes each with each Quarter worth $100,000 which can be awarded to the winning team if they win.
While the first three Quarters start with 0 – 0 scores, the Fourth is played with the aggregated scores and both teams will play towards a Final Target Score.
Before the Fourth is played, an additional 24 points would be added to the leading team’s score after the third.
That means, the first time to reach the Final Target Score, wins. Based on the score in the first three quarters, the first team to hit 182 would win.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how it went down and boy did it go down…
How did it go down?
Right from the first pass of the game, Team Giannis looked like the better team. They would open up the scoring and forcing Team Lebron to trail until the last minutes of the Quarter.
Team LeBron would take the advantage late on in the Quarter making it 42 – 41 and holding it until Team Giannis could square it at 46 – 46.
The First Quarter was certainly entertaining not only for how effective Team Giannis was on court but also because both team captains exited early.
The Second would see Team Lebron rally together without their captain on the court, managing by the mid-point to pull a slim lead against the rattled Team Giannis.
However, just before the buzzer, Team Giannis would pull it back spectacularly with a 99 – 92 lead.
Thanks to Jayson Tatum, the breakaway would happen in the first few minutes of the Third Quarter. As soon as Team Giannis hit 110 points, the score-fest would screech into gear and the gap would open until there were nearly 20 points separating them.
Team LeBron would rally for their final counter-attack in the fourth but they were unable to hit the 182 target score.
James left the court with a bruise on his right arm from hitting the rim on a dunk and Antetokounmpo would also leave with a right wrist sprain he got during the Bulls vs Bucks game on Thursday night.
It left the field open for the evening’s All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award. The starters certainly showed us what they were made of.
Tatum breaks it
It would be the Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum who would help Team Giannis win the competition with an incredible 55-point game, breaking the 52-point record held by Anthony Davis back in 2017.
He managed 22 of 31 shots from the ground. Ten of 18 were made from a 3-point range along with 10 rebounds and six assists.
It racked up the bulk of his points during the Third Quarter, helping Team Giannis push for a 158 – 141 score before the Fourth.
‘Records are made to be broken so I’ll hold it for as long as I can but I’m certain somebody will come along in a couple years and try to break it,’ he would say after the game.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward would go on to sink a free throw and take the top spot as the all-time All-Star points scorer with 53 points. He would bring his team within one point of hitting the target score with a layup.
Damian Lillard would since a three-pointer in the closing minutes to seal the victory.
Worst Basketball game
‘It’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be a part of a great weekend, great players. But that is the worst basketball game ever played.’
That’s how Team LeBron’s coach Michael Malone would describe the game in its aftermath.
He poured praise on the likes of Embiid and Irving for their efforts but it was a difficult game to watch.
‘”I don’t know if you can fix it. I give Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving — those guys were like, competing. Joel was imploring some of the guys to play harder, to try to get some defense in. No one got hurt, they put on a show for the fans, but that is a tough game to sit through. I’m not gonna lie.’
There were fans who agreed
Reactions from fans suggested that Team LeBron lost because they didn’t have Stephen Curry. The Golden State Warriors Guard was out for the exhibition.
He’d suffered a knee-injury during the Dallas Mavericks game, sitting him out for the All-Stars.