Curry, Lillard, Antetokounmpo put on All-Star show in Team LeBron win
Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn’t miss.
Literally. He shot 16-for-16 on the night, and even when he took ill-advised threes the bank was open on Sunday for him.
It felt like nobody else on Team LeBron was missing much either. They put on a show, particularly Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard in a mano a mano battle of who has the deepest range.
“You couldn’t draw it up any more perfect, especially to end that first half…” Curry said. “Showing off our skill set, I’ve been trying to do it for years. It was just fun to have that back-and-forth.”
The result of all that fun was Team LeBron blowing the doors off Team Durant 170-150, in an All-Star Game that didn’t feel that close and dragged at the end because of it.
The game ended, appropriately enough, on Lillard shooting from halfcourt to get to the Elam ending number of 170.
Curry knew it was going in and was waving goodbye before Lillard launched it.
The win keeps LeBron James perfect as an All-Star Game GM at 4-0 — and he did it without playing in the second half (something clearly done at LeBron’s request, not that of Jazz coach Quin Snyder). Consider it a sign of how much LeBron cared about the event.
That said, it was the first time Curry and Lebron have ever been teammates and both were pumped about it.
“It was a great experience, we had fun in the locker room chopping it up,” Curry said of playing with LeBron, adding, “there’s great respect there.”
Team LeBron got the win, but nobody watches an All-Star Game rooting for a team — we just want to be entertained. Team LeBron won that battle, too. For example, LeBron James finding Curry for the logo three.
Or Curry hanging off the rim on an ally-oop (he later threw and lob to Chris Paul for the rare CP3 dunk finish).
Antetokounmpo put on a show too, was clearly having fun, and was voted All-Star MVP, the first time he has one of those trophies.
The NBA’s leading scorer, Bradley Beal, led Team Durant with 26 points. Kyrie Irving added 24, and James Harden and Jayson Tatum had 21 points apiece. But things did not go as smoothly for Durant’s team — starting with Durant himself not being able to play due to injury. In the first half, Zion Williamson was missing dunks (plural) and the team shot 25% from three (9-of-36). That put Durant’s side in a hole they could not climb out of.
Fittingly, to match the season, the game was played with the specter of COVID-19 everywhere, including 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons having to miss the game due to coronavirus contact tracing.
But much like the season, the NBA pushed through and the show went on — and the league’s biggest stars did not disappoint.