An All-Star Game that started with something that had never been done before produced a halftime and an overall game that made it one of the most memorable recent exhibitions for the NBA.
Jayson Tatum won Most Valuable Player awards in the All-Star Game after leading Team Giannis to a 184-175 victory over Team LeBron. Tatum scored 55 points on 22-for-31 shooting to establish a new record for the most points ever scored in an All-Star Game.
A pregame draft in the style of a playground was also held for this game, and All-Star captains Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James were the ones in charge of it.
This was the first time that Team LeBron had been defeated in an NBA All-Star Game. A significant portion of Team Giannis’s success came in the second half, after James had been taken out of the game due to a hand injury. Tatum provided the spark that was needed in the second half, scoring an All-Star record 27 points in the third quarter and adding another 18 points in the fourth quarter to power the triumph. In the end, he also had 10 rebounds and six assists.
This year’s All-Star Game began and continued at the usual frenetic clip, with plenty of players attempting 3-pointers and driving to the basket against very little opposition. Both sides stepped up their offensive efforts throughout the third quarter, with Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum of Team Giannis delighting the fans with their shooting.
Throughout that quarter, which had numerous pivotal moments, the trio of players shot a combined 15-for-23 on three-pointers. The crowd went absolutely wild after Lillard made a pull-up shot from a step behind halfcourt and made it. However, towards the end of the first quarter, Tatum and Team LeBron’s Jaylen Brown — who also plays for Tatum’s Celtics squad — spent the last minutes of the period going 1-on-1 and sinking 3-pointers over each other on consecutive possessions.
James was recognized with an elaborate ceremony during the halftime break for becoming the all-time leading scorer in NBA history on February 8. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who James had to surpass to go to No. 1, and Karl Malone, the Jazz icon and the NBA’s No. 3 all-time scorer, embraced LeBron James in the photo after he was acknowledged for his accomplishment. James is now the all-time scoring leader in the NBA.
As for the draft, Antetokounmpo went first and James went second as they took turns picking their teams from the available list of reserves, and then they switched places when it was time to pick the starters for their teams.
James shocked the audience by selecting Kyrie Irving, his former teammate, with his second decision among the starters, which resulted in both shouts and whistles from the spectators. The fact that Donovan Mitchell of Cleveland and Lauri Markkanen of Utah were both selected as teammates for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team is a bit ironic given that the two players were virtually traded for each other.
The complete game was not played by either LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the opening minute and a half of the game, Antetokounmpo dunked the ball and scored the first point of the game. Antetokounmpo was already nursing a hand injury that he had sustained prior to the activities of the weekend when he committed a foul and was replaced by Bam Adebayo. James concluded the first half with 13 points, four rebounds, and an assist while playing 14 minutes, but he was unable to play in the second half due to a contusion on his right hand.