Team LeBron defeats Team Durant in NBA All-Star Game

Jake Blancher, Associate Sports Editor

The 2021 NBA All-Star festivities concluded late Sunday night as Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 170-150. LeBron James also extended his All-Star Game winning streak as general manager to four. 

Despite being the top vote-getter in the Eastern Conference, and as a result being a team captain, Kevin Durant did not play in the All-Star Game because of a hamstring injury and was replaced by Boston Celtics 23-year-old phenom Jayson Tatum.

Reigning back-to-back MVP and first overall selection in the All-Star draft Giannis Antetokuonmpo took home the recently renamed NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award. The “Greek Freak” was the obvious choice for the award as he did not miss a shot all night, finishing with 35 points on perfect 16-for-16 shooting, including a pair of threes. 

In the closing seconds of the first half, elite 3-point-shooting point guards Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry traded successful half court shots. 

Just hours before, Curry won his second 3-point contest, putting on an astounding display of shooting mechanics and performance under pressure. Already widely considered the best shooter of all time, the two time MVP is now just the seventh player ever to win multiple 3-point contests. 

Earlier in the night, Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Anfernee Simons was crowned winner of the dunk contest over rookies Obi Toppin and Cassius Stanley. Simons feigned kissing the rim for his dunk in the final round, which gave him the edge over Toppin, the New York Knicks’ power forward sensation

In the first event of the night, Domantas Sabonis defeated fellow Eastern Conference big man Nikola Vucevic in the skills challenge. This came as quite a surprise, however. The skills challenge is an event akin to an obstacle course, featuring ball handling, passing and shooting where many would expect smaller, more agile guards to prevail. However, ever since “big men” were allowed to compete in the contest, five out of the past six winners have been towering centers.

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