The presence of Kobe Bryant was everywhere as Team LeBron captured the new format NBA All-Star game with a 157-155 victory over Team Giannis. Bryant had been in favor of the new Elam scoring system which provided a fourth quarter that fans will not soon forget.
There was a steal by LeBron James, a block by Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a game-winning free throw by James’ teammate Anthony Davis. It’s hard to believe an All-Star game that could have been better.
The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard took home the game’s MVP award after scoring 25 first-half points and finishing with 30. Leonard hit eight 3-pointers, one shy of the All-Star game record, and also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Antetokounmpo led his team with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Teammate Joel Embiid added 22 points and 10 rebounds. Rudy Gobert came off the bench and scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t quite enough to beat Team LeBron.
In other events from the league’s All-Star weekend, Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. edged out Orlando’s Aaron Gordon to win the NBA Slam Dunk contest. It was a controversial ending that required two dunk-off attempts. In the final attempt, Jones took off from just inside the free throw line threw down a windmill jam that scored 48 points.
For his final dunk, Gordon brought out Boston center Tacko Fall, who stands 7-feet-5-inches. Gordon jumped over Fall taking the ball from his hands and finishing with a thunderous dunk that left the capacity crowd at the United Center gasping for air. Still, the judges scored Gordon’s dunk a 47 giving the title to Jones.
Sacramento guard Buddy Hield hit 4-of-5 money balls on his final rack and ended up winning the 3-point shooting contest by a single point over Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. The pair both totaled 27 points in the first round. In the finals, Booker scored 26 before Hield came through with 27 to win it all.