Jayson Tatum ends LeBron James’ all-star dominance with record night

Jayson Tatum ends LeBron James’ all-star dominance with record night


SALT LAKE CITY — Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum brought LeBron James’ All-Star Game dynasty to a halt, but the 72nd NBA midseason showcase still belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers star.

Team Giannis beat Team LeBron, 184-175, in a soporific Sunday night game at Vivint Arena, ending James’ five-game winning streak as captain on a night he was honored of becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Tatum led Team Giannis to victory, scoring an All-Star Game-high 55 points with 10 rebounds and six assists amid a thrilling shooting display in the deciding third quarter.

“I wanted to win MVP,” Tatum said, noting that the award trophy is named after his childhood hero, Lakers great Kobe Bryant. “I didn’t think I would get 55. It’s the icing on the cake.”

James had 13 points, a rebound and four assists in 14 minutes before sitting out the second half with a finger injury that he said “(wasn’t) too much of a concern.” Despite missing the crunchtime after hitting his hand on the rim while blocking a shot, James was ubiquitous, taking part in a live playground-style draft with Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to pick the rosters. team, then honored at half-time alongside Kareem Abdul. -Jabbar and Karl Malone, the second and third leading scorers of all time in the NBA.

“No matter the challenge, no matter the noise, he was relentless,” former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade said as he introduced James to hearty applause at halftime. “He’s not just a four-time MVP or 19-time all-star or gold medalist or NBA champion. He’s a son, father, husband and friend. He’s now everyone’s leading scorer. the times in NBA history.

James, Abdul-Jabbar and Malone then stood side by side, embracing and waving to the crowd. Earning the 19th All-Star selection of his career, James tied Abdul-Jabbar for the most in league history. His 19 appearances with the stars are a record.

“I haven’t had a chance to watch Kareem live, but I know the story of the game,” James said. “I had the opportunity to watch a lot of Karl Malone games live. To see the way they graced the field with their ability – you have the physicality of Malone’s game, but he also has a certain finesse with his mid-range jump shot, with his ability to run on the ground. Kareem’s game (is) a unique game that no one has ever been able to try to patent or steal. They were so dominant in their day. I stand between these guys, and it’s such a surreal feeling.

In the NBA’s unconventional all-star format, teams competed quarter-by-quarter for charity. They tied at 46 in the first quarter; Team Giannis won the second quarter, 53-46, and won the third quarter, 59-49.

The clock was turned off for the fourth quarter as the teams tried to reach a total target score of 182 points as part of the “Elam Ending”, which ensures that every competition ends in winning points. The increased exertion that usually comes in the fourth quarter never materialized, and Tatum acknowledged the contest had a “safety first” feel as players tried to avoid injury with the playoffs. playoffs around the corner.

Tatum broke Anthony Davis’ All-Star Game record of 52 points set in 2017. With 27 points in the third quarter, the St. Louis native set an All-Star Game all-star scoring record.

“(The star rating record) means the world,” he said. “Records are made to be broken. I’ll hold it as long as I can, but I’m sure someone will come and break it.

Portland Trail Blazers goaltender Damian Lillard, who won Saturday’s three-point contest, delivered the game-winning basket with a deep three-pointer after several heaves on Team Giannis’ halfcourt. As Saturday’s All-Star slate ended with a euphoric crowd reaction to Mac McClung’s surprisingly thrilling slam dunk contest performance, some fans started spinning midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s showcase. , which featured virtually no defensive effort.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell added 40 points, four rebounds and 10 assists for Team Giannis. Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid each scored 32 points for Team LeBron.

This year’s All-Star Game opened with a new twist: James and Antetokounmpo picked their rosters one by one as part of the pre-game show. To alleviate the embarrassment associated with being picked last, the NBA and players’ union agreed that captains would pick their benches before picking their starters.

“We thought it would be an interesting experience,” said commissioner Adam Silver. “I thought it would just add a little more excitement.”

Antetokounmpo selected Lillard as the first choice from the reserves – to James’ surprise, given that Antetokounmpo’s Bucks teammate Jrue Holiday was on the board. James then selected Embiid with the first pick among the starters, and Antetokoumpo followed with Tatum.

“He’s one of the best players in the league,” explained Antetokounmpo. “A capable goalscorer, as he has shown. We had a little chat. I knew he was going to play hard.

The draft had its share of fun interludes, including Antetokounmpo mistakenly attempting to select Ja Morant in the reserves round even though the Memphis Grizzlies guard was expected to be a starter.

“Giannis tries anything y’all,” James joked.

After Jaren Jackson Jr. was the last selected reserve, Denver’s Nikola Jokic made sure he wouldn’t suffer the same fate among the starters. Jokic jumped out of his seat early before James made his final selection, leaving Utah’s Lauri Markkanen to shrug in confusion once he realized he was last on stage.

Once Antetokounmpo completed his drafting duties, he entered the pitch with a wrap protecting his injured right wrist. The two-time MVP dunked on first possession and then immediately checked to avoid further injury, saying he had to make a “tough decision but a mature decision” to maximize his availability for Milwaukee’s stretch run. Despite spending most of the night cheering from the sidelines, the seven-time star player picked up his first victory in three tries as captain.

“Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” Antetokounmpo said with a smile.

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