- The NBA All-Star weekend was action-packed and it was another night for LeBron James and Stephen Curry to show their talents to the world.
- Curry hit a record of 16 3-pointers to set a record for the most three-pointers in a single match whiles LeBron clinched the victory for his side, Team LeBron.
- The two players were also honoured when NBA honoured its 75 greatest players.
Stephen Curry put on a shooting show all evening, hitting 16 3-pointers and scoring 50 points, while LeBron James hit a staggering, one-legged turnaround jumper to clinch the victory for Team LeBron over Team Durant, who were playing without their captain 163-160.
On a night when the NBA honoured its 75 greatest players, two of them — Curry and James — put on displays worthy of the occasion and honorary.
Curry, who set the NBA’s all-time record for 3-pointers made earlier this season, hit an impressive 16 3-pointers — which would be the most in any game in NBA history, and smashed the prior 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 its feet when he nailed five straight 3-pointers early in the third quarter, including one on three straight possessions.
The Golden State Warriors man then hit his 15th 3 — more than anyone has ever made in an NBA game — at the end of a passing sequence 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 fully turned around to celebrate before the ball softly fell through the net.
Ultimately, Curry wound up with just 50 points — missing a couple of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that would’ve allowed him to surpass the 52 points Anthony Davis scored to set the record in 2017 — before James ended the contest with his dagger over Zach LaVine.
The exploits of James and Curry — as well as Antetokounmpo, who was the only player on either team playing any sort of defence for large stretches of the evening — came along with taking part in the NBA’s 75th-anniversary celebration, as the league honoured the 75 greatest players in its history. A large group picture of those who were in attendance was taken inside the arena before the game began.
They were then honoured during halftime with a ceremony that was emceed by Oscar-winning director Spike Lee, included a video narrated by Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker and then saw every player honoured by position — beginning with forwards, followed by centres and ending with guards. The last player announced was Michael Jordan, who drew the biggest cheer of the night.
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 it did in its debut.
After the two teams played each of the first three quarters for charity — with the winner of each individual quarter earning $100,000 for its respective charity (Team LeBron playing for Kent State’s I Promise Scholars Program and Team Durant playing for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank) — the fourth quarter was played to a target score.
During introductions, it came as no surprise that James received a massive ovation from the fans he has played in front of for 11 of his 18-plus NBA seasons — letting out a massive roar and raising his arms to the crowd as they did so.
It was equally expected that the two Golden State stars honoured Sunday night — Curry, who did play, and Draymond Green, who did not — were roundly booed after playing James and the Cleveland Cavaliers four straight years in the NBA Finals, from 2015 to 2018, winning three of them.
Team LeBron won the first quarter 47-45, thanks to Luka Doncic scoring the team’s final six points. Team Durant came back and won the second quarter 49-46 — despite a record-setting eight first-half 3-pointers from Curry — to take a 94-93 halftime lead. The two teams then tied in the third quarter, thanks to a heady defensive play by Antetokounmpo late in the quarter.
That left the score at 139-138 in favour of Team Durant heading into the fourth, meaning that the target score was 163 points — 24 more than the total from the team leading after three, in a nod to the late Kobe Bryant, and setting up James’ final heroics after Joel Embiid and Antetokounmpo traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter.
For the second straight year, Team Durant was without its captain, as Kevin Durant was unable to play in Sunday’s game due to the MCL sprain that has sidelined him for the past month. Durant was originally scheduled to attend the game, despite his injury, but did not after the death of his grandmother this weekend. Green (back, calf) and James Harden (hamstring) also missed the game due to injury, with LaMelo Ball, Dejounte Murray and Jarrett Allen, respectively, being tapped to serve as their replacements.
Donovan Mitchell announced just a couple of hours before tip on Sunday that he too wouldn’t play, due to an upper respiratory illness that kept him from participating in anything on Saturday and, ultimately, the All-Star Game itself. Chris Paul, meanwhile, will miss the next six to eight weeks, at least, after suffering an avulsion fracture in his right thumb in Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets. And yet despite that injury, Paul played for a little more than two minutes in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, missing his only shot (a left-handed layup) before sitting down for the night.
Team LeBron improved to 5-0 since the NBA went away from the traditional East-West format of the All-Star Game in 2018 and instead adopted the current setup of having the top vote-getter from each conference draft teams from the game’s remaining 22 participants.