By Adrian Stewart Co
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a perfect game to tow Team Lebron to a 170-150 annihilation of Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night (Monday in the Philippines) at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward converted all his 16 field goal attempts, including three outside shots, to finish with 35 points and be hailed as the Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star Finals MVP.
Damian Lillard chipped in 32 markers, including three game-clinching three-pointers. Three-Point King Stephen Curry added 28, while Jaylen Brown finished with 22 points for Team Lebron.
From a 23-all count in the opening period, Team Lebron surged to a 37-31 lead with triples by Curry and inside hits by Rudy Gobert. The lead grew to 40-35 after a Brown triple but Team Durant could only come to as close as 39-40.
Both teams went toe-to-toe in the second period with Team Lebron clinging to a one-point edge before Curry and Lillard took turns on offense for a 60-41 score, 100-80 in aggregate at the half.
Team Durant got their shots to fall early in the third quarter courtesy of Bradley Beal but Team Lebron answered with shots from Antetokounmpo, Curry and Paul George to win the quarter, 46-45, and 146-125 in aggregate score.
With a target score of 170, Team Durant chopped to the deficit at 144-159 but Team Lebron went for the kill on a layup by Lillard and three straight triples from him, including the game-clinching 40-foot hit from near midcourt, to seal the win.
Beal finished the match with 26 points, Kyrie Irving had double-double 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Jason Tatum and James Harden had 21 markers apiece for Team Durant.
Team Durant was decimated with the injuries of Durant and Devin Booker, who was replaced by Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley. They also lose Joel Embiid following his close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019.
TEAM LEBRON 170 – Antetokounmpo 35, Lillard 32, Curry 28, Brown 22, George 17 Gobert 10, Doncic 8, Jokic 6, Paul 6, James 4, Sabonis 2.
TEAM DURANT 150 – Beal 26, Irving 24, Tatum 21, Harden 21, Mitchell 15, LaVine 13, Williamson 10, Leonard 8, Vucevic 5, Randle 4, Conley 3.
Quarterscores: 40-39, 100-80, 146-125, 170-150./ASC, WDJ