NBA

Team LeBron Wins First All-Star Game in New Format

Team LeBron Wins First All-Star Game in New Format

After the last couple NBA All-Star games saw the winning team score 196 and 192 points, there was a question if the game could ever get back to having some resemblance of defense played. In the 67th playing, we saw plenty of defensive improvement as Team LeBron topped Team Stephen 148-145, with a thrilling final two minutes, and an entertaining overall game.

Set in Los Angeles, the 2018 NBA All-Star game brought stars out such as Queen Latifah, Rob Riggle, Adam Devine amongst others, in an opening number that would’ve looked more at home before the Grammys or Oscars, rather than a basketball game.

Players were introduced by Kevin Hart, also part of the opening number, who made jokes about each starter, including telling Kyrie Irving the earth is flat several times. The Barenaked Ladies performed O Canada, and California’s very own Fergie performed the United States National Anthem.

Basketball was eventually played with the NBA debuting a brand new all-star format, where the vote leaders for each conference were assigned as team captains, and then selected players from a pool of already named all-stars, regardless of conference. The two captains this year were LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors.

Reuniting old teammates may have been the theme of Team Lebron, as the team saw Kevin Durant, Texas Ex, and Russell Westbrook reunite, as well as LeBron and Kyrie Irving, play together again.

Highlighting Team Steph was Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, and Klay Thompson.

Teams from the state of Texas had two players in the game, including James Harden from the Houston Rockets playing for Team Stephen, and LaMarcus Aldridge from the San Antonio Spurs, also a Texas Ex, playing for Team Lebron. Aldridge played only 4 minutes and was scoreless, while Harden had 12 points but struggled shooting, going 5-19 overall and 2-13 from three.

A tightly contested game throughout saw a back and forth fourth quarter, with a LeBron step back three evening the game with 1:30 left.

A DeMar DeRozan free throw put Team Stephen up by one until a LeBron put back gave Team Lebron the lead, and an assist to Russel Westbrook by LeBron extended Team Lebron’s lead to 3 points with 10 seconds left.

Team Steph attempted to get a three off with Steph Curry, but intense defense by LeBron and Kevin Durant forced Curry into the corner. Unable to get a shot off., Curry passed the ball to DeRozan, but he failed to get a shot off before time expired, leading to a Team LeBron win.

Lebron James was named MVP, his third all-star game MVP, scoring 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Joel Embid may have been the surprise of the night for Team Stephen, with the big man scoring 19 points, knocking down two threes and 8 rebounds.

adam wagner

February 20th, 2018

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