The team of Giannis Antetokounmpo beat in the NBA All-Star to the team led by Lebron James (175-184) thanks to a Jason Tatum spectacular that he was named MVP and with 55 points he broke the scoring record in an all-star game.
The previous brand had it Anthony Davis with 52 points in 2017, but Tatum set a new high thanks to a fantastic 10 of 18 on 3-pointers and a brutal third quarter in which he made 27 (all-star scoring record in a quarter).
Tatum, upon receiving the Kobe Bryant Award for the All-Star MVP, he said that it meant “a lot” to him to have reached the points record but he maintained that all brands “are to be surpassed” and assured that in a few years someone will snatch that honor from him.
The All-Star in Salt Lake City left the first loss for LeBron after the All-Star format change in 2018 (5-1 now for the Lakers figure, who in the six years he has been captain).
LeBron, who has foot problems, only played in the first half.
For his part, Antetokounmpo, who had been a doubt until the last minute due to a wrist injury, came out in his team’s starting five but did not last long on the court as he scored a basket and went to the bench 20 seconds later (Chris Paul did something similar at the 2022 All-Star.)
The main novelty of this All-Star was that heThe captains took turns choosing their players just before the start of the match (In recent years this process was done days before the meeting).
Thus, LeBron chose Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Kyrie Irving (Dallas Mavericks), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Paul George ( Los Angeles Clippers), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), Julius Randle (New York Knicks), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies).
For his part, Antetokounmpo selected Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies), Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers), Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat) and Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings).
This All-Star had very prominent absences like those of the injured Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans).
After a jump between two of the ‘shorts’ Morant and Irving, the first quarter, after Antetokounmpo’s early withdrawal, started with the local hero, Markkanen, adding 7 points in just under four minutes.
LeBron and Tatum met for a fabulous self-pass dunk contest against the backboard while Doncic, with a microphone and headset during the match, joked on the TNT broadcast that he was forgetting that he had to play while chatting with the commentators.
With the usual absence of defense that characterizes the All-Star, the first quarter ended in a tie. (46-46) with Tatum leading Team Giannis with 13 points and Irving matching Team LeBron with 11 points.
Statistics don’t matter at all on a night like this, but the two teams shook hands in a striking and sad 6 of 28 three-pointer in the first twelve minutes.
Many NBA fans crave a dunk contest involving Morant, and the explosive Grizzlies point guard gave them a taster of what he could deliver in the second quarter with a terrific 360-degree dunk.
The highlight of the second period was Mitchell, who in front of his old Utah crowd signed 14 points for Team Giannis to take that quarter (46-53, 92-99 in the first part).
At halftime, the NBA paid a special tribute to the three greatest scorers in history: LeBron James -who broke the record a couple of weeks ago-, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Team Giannis sharpened their aim at the restart and unleashed heavy artillery from the triple.
Tatum made 7 three-pointers, Mitchell added 4 and Lillard, winner of Saturday’s 3-point contest, hit one from midfield for 4 total.
With such an arsenal (spectacular 15 of 24 three-pointers in just those twelve minutes), Giannis’s team comfortably scored the third period (49-59) and stepped on the accelerator towards the final victory (after the accumulated 141-158, the first who reached 182 would sign the victory).
The third quarter left the anecdote of seeing Tatum measuring himself in a juicy and spicy face to face with Brown, his inseparable companion from Boston.
With too much distance on the scoreboard, it was a matter of time before Team Giannis sentenced the All-Star and that final blow came with a three-pointer from Lillard.
Finally, Pau Gasol received the WNBA Kobe & Gigi Bryant honorary award in one of the All-Star timeouts for her support and contributions to the development of women’s basketball.
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