Team LeBron James looked better on paper and in practice against Team Kevin Durant during the 2021 All-Star Game on Sunday night, with two-time regular season MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo taking home some more hardware.
A jam-packed NBA night — filled with the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Competition — was highlighted by a near-perfect performance from James’ team in the main event.
In the second year of the current format, the game was split up into four mini-games, with each quarter being its own separate entity. The fourth quarter was the elam ending introduced last season, bringing back the total scores from the first three quarters. The team that won quarters 1-3 would donate $150,000 per quarter won to the HBCU fund of their choice, and the winner of the total game would give $300,000.
The opening quarter was the closest one of the entire night, as Team James and Team Durant were back-and-forth the whole way. James played a majority of his minutes in the first, playing a total of 13 for the night. His 13 minutes figure was second lowest among all All-Stars.
Team LeBron wound up winning the first quarter 40-39, winning their first $150,000 towards the Thurdgood Marshall College Fund.
The second period was by far the most dominant in favor of Team LeBron. Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard were an unbeatable trio, scoring 39 of their team’s 60 points. The half came to an end with back-to-back half-court shots from Curry and Lillard to give Team LeBron the 60-41 quarter win, the 100-80 halftime lead, and another $150,000.
With Team LeBron already fully in control, the third quarter was Team Durant’s chance to make up some ground and win money for their HBCU fund as well. They were unable to do so, as the onslaught continued for Antetokounmpo and company. By this point, James had been subbed out for the remainder of the night, with Lillard taking his place in the starting lineup.
Team Durant did all they could, but they lost the third quarter 46-45. This put the total score at 146-125 and brought the total raised by Team LeBron to $450,000.
With the elam ending, the clock was taken away and both teams would have a target score to reach. As a tribute to Kobe Bryant, 24 points were added to the leading team’s score to create the target. With Team LeBron having 146, the final score was set at 170.
Team Durant would have to outscore Team LeBron 45-23 in the final frame to win the All-Star Game. They did not come close to achieving this feat, as a deep three-pointer from Lillard sealed the victory for Team LeBron, 170-150.
Antetokounmpo won the Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award by going a perfect 16-for-16 from the field for 35 points. Lillard and Curry combined for 60 of their own points on a ridiculous 16-for-32 from three.
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