Team LeBron rallies at All-Star game
Golden State’s Durant named MVP
LeBron James was trading lob pass with Dwyane Wade again, one last time. Lobs from Kyrie Irving once again, too. And after making a stepback 3-pointer late, he stared down Joel Embiid to send a message without saying a word.
Oh, this mattered.
Team LeBron, down by 20 in the second half, finally got firing and went on to beat Team Giannis 178-164 in the All-Star Game on Sunday night. MVP Kevin Durant scored 31 points for Team LeBron, the one that James drafted and led to victory in the captain’s-choice format for a second consecutive season. Klay Thompson scored 20, and James and Kawhi Leonard each scored 19 for the winners.
Giannis Antetokounmpo — the first-time captain — led everybody with 38 points for the club he drafted. Paul George and Khris Middleton each scored 20 points for Team Giannis, which got 17 apiece from Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook.
“We just started making shots,” Durant said.
Durant is now a two-time MVP, also winning it back in 2012. He lauded Charlotte for the weekend.
“Thanks for the hospitality,” Durant said. “It was an amazing weekend. Glad we capped it off with a ‘W.”’
The highlights, as would be expected, were absurdly good, time and again.
Curry slammed the ball off the floor on a first-half fast break and watched it ricochet toward the rim with an apex that flirted with the top of the backboard. Too high for most humans — but Antetokounmpo isn’t most humans. The freakishly long Greek star slammed Curry’s unconventional alley-oop pass home, with both benches reacting in disbelief.
It was not a defensive showcase, as always.
Team Giannis set an All-Star record with 23 field goals in the first quarter, topping the mark of 22 set on four other occasions — by both the West and the East in the first quarter of the 2017 game, and by the West in both the second and third quarters of the 2016 game.