CHICAGO, IL —It may seem all fun and games but don’t be fooled, every NBA player wants to win the All-Star game. When players are taking charges, bodies hitting the floor, calls, and non-calls were being yelled at both ends of the court. The fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star Game was intense and none of the stars was holding anything back in their repertoire.
“That was pretty damn fun,” a soaked and exhausted LeBron James said at the end of the game.
Anthony Davis a hometown kid made a game-ending free throw to give Team LeBron a 157-155 win over Team Giannis in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night, the new format overhauled to put in elements for charity and ensure that someone was going to hit a shot to end the contest.
Davis who missed the first free throw and made the second to end the NBA’s midseason showcase that went down as the closest All-Star Game since the Eastern Conference topped the Western Conference 141-139 in 2010.
Kawhi Leonard, the game’s MVP and the first recipient of the trophy now named for Bryant, scored 30 points for Team LeBron, while James — his team’s captain — and Chris Paul each scored 23, and Davis finished with 20.
“This one’s for him,” Leonard said, speaking of Bryant afterward.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who captained his team, led his squad with 25 points, Kemba Walker had 23 for Team Giannis, Joel Embiid scored 22 and Rudy Gobert added 21.
“I think it was really interesting,” said Team Giannis coach Nick Nurse of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors. “It was really fun, each and every quarter, from a coaching standpoint.”
James Harden then had a chance to win it for Team LeBron, and his 3-pointer went in — but it was waved off by Kyle Lowry taking a charge. James dunked a little after to make it 156-153, and Embiid made two free throws to cut Team LeBron’s deficit to one point.
With that, it was next-basket-wins time.
Davis was fouled on the next trip, got the free throw to win it, and that was that.
“I told my team I was going to miss the first one to put a little more pressure on myself here at home,” Davis said.
James’ team wore blue jerseys, all with the No. 2 for Gianna Bryant. Antetokounmpo’s team wore red, every player wearing No. 24 on the back for Kobe Bryant. And on their right shoulders was a black circular patch with nine stars, one for each victim of the helicopter crash that took the lives of Bryant, his daughter, and their seven friends on Jan. 26.
“His presence was felt,” James said.