Stephen Curry Hits 16 3 to Win All-Star Game MVP; LeBron James nails the game winner

CLEVELAND — The two Akron kids stole the show at Sunday night’s All-Star Game.

Stephen Curry put on a shooting clinic all night, hitting 16 3-pointers and scoring 50 points, while LeBron James hit an absurd one-legged jumper to earn Team LeBron’s victory over Team Durant 163-160 .

On a night where the NBA honored its 75 greatest players, two of them – Curry and James – gave presentations worthy of the occasion.

“Yeah, I told him on the field after the game it was a perfect ending,” said Curry, who was named the game’s most valuable player. “I was looking for those extra two or three points. I think DeMar [DeRozan] hit a big blow, then [James] came out and hit the game winner.

“It was kind of a perfect ending. Obviously I got the MVP; I played well all night. He hit the game winner. All of our series history and Akron ties , and all that kind of explanation of how the night went, so that was pretty – I can’t really write it any other way.

“It’s just on the nose of how it should go.”

Curry, who set the NBA’s all-time record for 3-pointers made earlier this season, hit an absurd 16 3-pointers – which would be the most in any game in NBA history. , and broke the previous All-Star Game record of nine. After setting the first-half record with eight triples, Curry brought the crowd – which had loudly booed the Golden State Warriors star before the game – to their feet when he nailed five consecutive 3-pointers at the start of the third quarter, including one of three consecutive possessions.

He then hit his 15th 3 – more than anyone has ever done in any NBA game – at the end of a passing streak that saw him pass it to James, who threw it to Nikola Jokic, who passed to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who then swung it to Curry in the corner. Curry then let it fly and he turned completely around in celebration before the ball fell gently through the net.

During the following timeout, Curry said into the microphone he was wearing for TNT, “Can someone tell me what the scoring record is?”

In the end, Curry was left with “only” 50 points – missing some 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that would have taken him past the 52 points Anthony Davis scored to set the record in 2017 – before James failed. ends the contest with his dagger on Zach LaVine.

“I couldn’t have dreamed of it,” James said of hitting the game-winner. “I couldn’t have dreamed of this moment better than the reality that just happened. For me to be back here, as I say again, 35 minutes [north] from where I grew up here in Akron, Ohio to hit the winner of the All-Star Game where me and my guys in the back used to watch the All-Star Game. I remember 25 years ago there were 12 of us, 11 of us wishing we had the opportunity or the means to come to Cleveland and see some of the greatest basketball players of all time because they inspired us so much.

“For me to be here today, for my best friends to be here, for my wife and my children and my family, my mother. There are so many people who have watched me grow from a very young child who I am today. I I couldn’t even – I couldn’t imagine this moment any better.”

The exploits of James and Curry – as well as Antetokounmpo, who was the only player from either team to play some kind of defense for long periods of the evening – were accompanied by participation in the celebration of the NBA’s 75th anniversary, as the league honored the 75 greatest players in its history. A large group photo of those in attendance was taken inside the arena before the match began.

They were then honored at half-time with a ceremony hosted by Oscar-winning director Spike Lee, which included a video narrated by Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, and then saw each player honored by position – starting with forwards, followed by centers and ending. with guards. The last player announced was Michael Jordan, who drew the biggest cheer of the night.

“Being among the 75 greatest basketball players to ever play takes me back to my childhood all over again growing up in Spring Hill and having all my inspirations taped to my wall, Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson,” James said. “Seeing these guys today and then being on stage with these guys is…you don’t understand.

“I try to make you understand as much as I can, but it’s just crazy.”

The game itself used the format first introduced at the All-Star Game in Chicago two years ago, the Elam Ending, which brought the same level of intensity and competition to the final moments this year as ‘at its beginnings.

After both teams played each of the first three quarters for charity – the winner of each individual quarter earning $100,000 for their respective charity (Team LeBron playing for Kent State’s I Promise Scholars program and the (Team Durant playing for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank) — the fourth quarter was played on target.

During introductions, it’s no surprise James received a massive ovation from the fans he’s played in front of for 11 of his 18-plus NBA seasons – letting out a massive roar and throwing his arms up in the crowd as they did it. .

The two Golden State stars honored on Sunday night – Curry, who played, and Draymond Green, who did not – were also expected to be downright booed after facing James and the Cleveland Cavaliers four straight years in NBA Finals, from 2015. to 2018, winning three of them.

Team LeBron won the first quarter 47-45, with Luka Doncic scoring the team’s final six points. The Durant team came back and won the second quarter 49-46 — despite Curry’s record eight 3-pointers in the first half — to take a 94-93 halftime lead. The two teams then drew in the third quarter, thanks to some intoxicating defensive play from Antetokounmpo late in the quarter.

That left the score at 139-138 in favor of the Durant team heading into fourth, meaning the target score was 163 points – 24 more than the team’s total in the lead after three, in wink. eye to the late Kobe Bryant, and setting up James’ final heroics after Joel Embiid and Antetokounmpo traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter.

“I was just trying to win,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’m really competitive. Kind of like All-Star Games, they’re not for me. Obviously I come here and try to enjoy the game as much as possible, but I don’t know how not to go hard. I feel a little bad when I walk around because I’m always trying to go full speed no matter what I’m doing because that’s how it is – what kind of player I am.”

For the second year in a row, the Durant team was without its captain, as Kevin Durant was unable to play Sunday’s game due to the MCL sprain that sidelined him last month. Durant was originally scheduled to attend the game, despite being injured, but did not after his grandmother passed away over the weekend. Green (back, calf) and James Harden (hamstring) also missed the game through injury, with LaMelo Ball, Dejounte Murray and Jarrett Allen, respectively, being chosen as their replacements.

Donovan Mitchell announced just hours before Sunday’s tip that he wouldn’t be playing either, due to an upper respiratory condition that kept him out of anything on Saturday and ultimately the All- Star Game itself. Chris Paul, meanwhile, will miss the next six to eight weeks, at least, after sustaining an avulsion fracture to his right thumb in Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets. And yet, despite the injury, Paul played just over two minutes in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, missing his only shot (a left-handed lay-up) before sitting out for the night.

Team LeBron has improved to 5-0 since the NBA moved away from the traditional East-West format of the All-Star Game in 2018 and instead adopted the current setup of having each team’s top voter. conference draft from the game’s remaining 22 participants.

But the competitive fervor that lasted until the final buzzer summed up how the change in format breathed new life into this event.

“I think so,” Suns coach Monty Williams, who coached the LeBron team, said after the game when asked if the new format worked. “I think even before the last half there is a level of competition that you just haven’t seen before.

“Guys want to win the quarter. They want to change lives with this money. And we’re in the caucuses, we’re talking about winning the quarter, we’re not messing around, and in the fourth quarter -time, it’s NBA Basketball, and you’ve got the best of the best.

“You look at Jarrett’s block on Joel, it was a primetime game, Giannis stealing, LeBron shooting. Steph goes for 50. You don’t play like that if you’re kidding.”

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