If you were disappointed by Saturday's dunk contest, we really don't blame you, but thankfully the All Star game more than made up for it. Here's a rundown of some of the evening's highlights.
Curry on Fire
This year’s All Star game was a scoring fest to say the least, as Team Lebron took the win over Team Durant with a 163-160 scoreline. Steph Curry was the walking bucket of the night - he finished with 16 3-pointers and scored 50 points in total.
His 16 trips set the All Star game record for the most ever scored, dropping 5 of them in just 2 minutes at one point. This stellar performance comes after Curry set the all-time career record for 3-pointers in December last year, with 3,074 now made in his 13-season career.
Curry's 50 also put him just 2 points shy of Anthony Davis' record for most points ever scored in an All Star game. With almost a third of Team Lebron's points, Steph rightfully took home the first ever Kobe Bryant Trophy as the game's MVP.
Cleveland fans may not be too fond of Curry as he won three titles at their expense, but nobody can deny the thrill of watching him and Lebron play ball together. After the game, James himself even said:
Steph, I mean, come on, man. This guy is from a different planet... He literally has an automatic sniper connected to his arm and, when he lets it go, not only himself but everybody on the floor, in the stands, on TV, on their phones, whatever you're watching on, you think it's going in every time.
Lebron's MJ Impression
Lebron had a comparatively mediocre night of shooting. He missed 9 of 11 3-point attempts and hit well under 50 percent from the field, but resurrected his performance with a Jordan-like fadeaway to secure the win. In a post game interview Lebron said:
It's crazy that the game-winning shot tonight was a fadeaway, and it was inspired by MJ
Some context for the shot:
The All-Star Elam Ending, which started in 2020, plays to a target number rather than a running clock in the fourth quarter. This means that Team Lebron needed to reach the target score of 163 points to win and James' fadeaway bucket from deep made that happen. He finished with 24 points in his 18th All-Star Game and now sits just one short of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record for All-Star appearances.
Ja Morant: Lift-Off
On the other side of the ball, Joel Embiid led Team Durant with 36 points but Ja Morant made the biggest splash. After a dud dunk contest on Saturday, Morant did what he could to make up for it - with one reverse alley-oop and another 360 slam on a lob from Trae Young.
Both of these dunks would probably have secured Saturday night's title.. and they were during a game. Let's get this guy an open lane in next year's contest and I bet he'll take us back to the LaVine-Gordon/Vince Carter glory days.
75th Anniversary Team
Another highlight of the night was a pretty special half-time ceremony that celebrated over 8 generations of NBA legends. The league honoured the 76 greatest players ever, including the likes of Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook and Steve Nash to name a few. Of course Jordan made an appearance, alongside Magic Johnson who received two of the loudest cheers from the Cleveland crowd.