TEAM LeBron, once again, has come on top after defeating Team Giannis in the 68th NBA All-Star game held in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA on Sunday, February 17.
Lakers forward LeBron James and his heavily stacked and squad were trailing in the first half yet mounted a comeback to take care of the Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team with the score of 178-164.
Team LeBron was led by James with 19 points, 11 boards, and four assists.
Golden State forward Kevin Durant scored 31 points and seven boards in this game together with 8 other players in the team having double-digit scores.
Meanwhile, Team Giannis relied on their captain, the Greek Freak’s monstrous performance of 38 points and 11 board. His teammates, Bucks guard Kris Middleton and Thunder forward Paul George both scored 20 in this game, along with four other players in the team scoring in double-digits.
Moreover, special additions in both teams, Heat guard Dwayne Wade and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, showed the world why they’re future hall of famers and legendary players in the NBA. Nowitzki scored 9 points with a total of 3-3 from the three-point line. Meanwhile, Wade posted seven points, four dishes, and two boards to finish the game. Nowitzki and Wade were a late minute addition to their respective teams due to them playing this year as their final year in the league.
At the start of the first, Team Giannis were on a hot start as they fed their captain, Antetokounmpo, over and over again during fast breaks and inside the paint.
The Greek Freak managed to get a field goal percentage of 4-4 with in just two minutes at the start.
Moreover, the connection between him and his teammate from the Bucks, Middleton, was superb as they managed to hit back-to-back threes with the same play – Antetokounmpo would drive and kick it out to Middleton for a three. Yet LeBron and his companions managed to stop them using a barrage of threes and inside shots from their star players.
Nowitzki shined in this quarter as he hit two of his three-point shots way beyond the three-point territory, displaying his legendary talent to pull up beyond the arc.
The first quarter ended with a score 53-37 in favor of Team Giannis.
In the second quarter, the barrages of threes didn’t stop as both teams chucked three after three and drained them to take control of the game.
Every two minutes, there were lob passes thrown by both teams like Raptors guard Kyle Lowry throwing a lob to Pistons forward Blake Griffin to extend Team Giannis’ lead. This was followed up by a play in which Paul George received an outlet pass and proceeded to dunk the ball with a one-handed 360.
However, one play was outstanding above the rest. It was when Golden State guard Stephen Curry bounced the rock off the floor and Antetokounmpo managed to glide in the air and finish the lob play even if the ball was too high to catch. The score going into halftime was 95-82.
In the third, Wade and LeBron showed shades of their chemistry when they were teammates on the Miami Heat as they threw lobs back and forth with each other in the early stages of the quarter. With this, Team LeBron went on another hot streak from the arc with Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard in the cockpit.
Around the three-minute mark, Lillard proceeded to free two consecutive threes from the logo to take the tie the game at 127 each. Players from Team Giannis such as Lowry and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook tried to extend their lead back yet Team LeBron didn’t let their offense die down, making the game close than what it was in the first half. At the end of the third, Team LeBron has the lead with 132-131.
In the final 12 minutes, the game remained close as both teams were trading basket, play after play. One outstanding play was done with 9:18 minutes left when Curry managed to get a 4-point play with his teammate, Warriors guard Klay Thompson – who is on Team LeBron, smothered him in the arc. Yet even with this out-of-this-world play, Team LeBron continued their onslaught using double teams and great passing.
One instance of this happened in the 3-minute mark when Celtic guard Kyrie Irving threw a lob pass to James, reminding fans of their once stellar duo that led to a championship back in Cleveland. Even though Antetokounmpo tried to dominate and take his team back, Team LeBron offense proved to be exceptional at the end.
In this game, Kevin Durant was named the All-Star most valuable player 2019 with his stellar performance in the game – shooting in rhythm jumpers and knocking down threes left and right. With this game in the books, NBA All-Star Weekend comes to a close. (Jayvee Gulfan/ USC Intern)