LeBron James took matters into his own hand on Sunday to ensure he remained undefeated in the reformatted NBA All-Star Game by burying the game-winner to cap off a 163-160 victory back home in Cleveland. James moved to a perfect 5-0 since the All-Star Game changed to its current iteration with a draft.
CLEVELAND, THIS IS FOR YOU #NBAAllStar— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) February 21, 2022
KING. CALLED. GAME.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 21, 2022
Even with James’ game-winner and 24 points, Steph Curry was the runaway winner for the inaugural Kobe Bryant MVP Award with a stupefying 50 points on 16/27 shooting FROM THE THREE-POINT LINE. Curry caught fire in the third quarter and had a half-dozen chances at surpassing Anthony Davis’ 52 points for the single-game record but came up short repeatedly, probably a result of shooting TWENTY-SEVEN THREE-POINTERS IN A GAME.
It was a typical All-Star game early on as both sides took turns with uncontested runs at the rim early on. James highlight of the early going was a huge slam but he hit just two of his first five shots. Ja Morant stole the show early with a wild reverse alley-oop from a Trae Young.
Ja got up ⬆️— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) February 21, 2022
Petition to put him in next year’s dunk contest?
@NBA | @JaMorant pic.twitter.com/WkmGxlh0NY
After a timeout, Giannis Antetokounmpo began sabotaging James’ MVP campaign by blowing a pair of uncontested alley-oop dunks, so James took matters into his own hands with an off-the-backboard alley-oop. Despite being in his 18th All-Star game, James still led his team in field goal attempts after one quarter, a true sign of his competitive spirit.
Because of that competitive spirit, James’ team won the opening frame 47-45, earning the Kent State I Promise Scholars Program it’s first $100,000 of the $450,000 earned in total on the night. Team Durant earned the Cleveland Food Bank $300,000 on the night.
LeGM’s roster-making shortcomings showed yet again as his side trailed early in the second quarter before he reentered the game. LeGM’s roster-making brilliance then showed yet again as his team went on a run behind Steph Curry catching fire from 3-point range. Mirroring the Lakers this season, Team LeBron ended the first half with a fake comeback that fell short as Team Durant took the second quarter.
Known for his scouting ability and willingness to watch tape on draft prospects, LeBron’s decision to draft Curry paid off in the third quarter when, again, Curry as he broke the All-Star Game record with 13 three-pointers with a quarter-and-a-half remaining. He finished with a record-breaking 16 3-pointers in the game.
Stephen Curry is heat checking like no one ever has in an #NBAAllStar Game.— NBA (@NBA) February 21, 2022
He's got 13 threes.
Get to TNT & TBS now. pic.twitter.com/Fvj2Ep3fjB
But even as Steph was role-playing as a Space Jam 2 opponent, Team LeBron couldn’t make up the entire deficit. Only when James exited the game did Team LeBron eventually complete the comeback with this quarter finishing as a time to set up an Elam Ending with the two teams just one point apart entering the frame.
The intensity predictably turned up in the fourth quarter with LeBron and Curry each making 3-pointers. Because he knows no other way to play, Joel Embiid got Team Durant back into the game with multiple trips to the free throw line. But Giannis did just enough try-harding — tallying 30 points — and Team LeBron locked down Embiid to set up LeBron’s game-winner.
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