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Team LeBron James Wins 67th NBA All-Star Game Competitive Showdown
By Lauren A. Jones, Contributing Writer
Published February 22, 2018

Team LeBron’s LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, holds MVP trophy after his team defeated Team Stephen at the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. Team LeBron won 148-145. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, played host to the 2018 All-Star Weekend and boasted the biggest celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Beyonce, Diddy,  DJ Khaled and Kevin Hart. The 67th NBA All-Star Game debuted its new format that featured team captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry at Staples Center on Sunday night (Feb. 18) in Los Angeles. The All-Star game concluded with a 148-145 victory for Team LeBron as the culminating event of an action-packed weekend.

“I think L.A. is a perfect place to host All-Star Weekend,” James told the L.A. Sentinel. “It’s built for stars. It’s built for entertainment. It’s built for cameras and bright lights, and it’s a great place for it.”

James earned his third NBA All-Star MVP honor. He scored a game-high 29 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists in front of a star-studded crowd including “Black Panther” breakout star Chadwick Boseman, who sat courtside for the All-Star matchup.

Team LeBron’s Kevin Durant, left, of the Golden State Warriors, celebrates with Team LeBron’s LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, during the second half of an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. Team LeBron won, 148-145. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

It was the first time in 13 years that a host city did not have a player in the game from one of its home teams. Neither a Clippers nor Lakers player made the cut. During halftime, several living Lakers legends were honored along with other NBA greats. The list included Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Julius Erving, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Bill Russell,  whom between them have 90 All-Star appearances and 28 championships.

The new format of the NBA All-Star game made for a much more competitive game than its 66- year history would have implied. Instead of dividing the players into East and West teams, Team LeBron and Team Curry drafted from a pool of players who had been voted this year’s All-Stars.

“The game was so good, it was so competitive, it was the best one I’ve played in,” Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant said. Durant, who played for Team LeBron, had the decisive defensive play that sealed the game.

Yes, there was defense played in an All-Star game.

Former basketball players, from left, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and Bill Russell watch during the first half of an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“We wanted to kind of change the narrative of the All-Star Game being a joke,” said Durant, who scored 19 points. James revealed after the game that he selected Durant first during the All-Star draft conference call between him and Curry.

The game was a back-and-forth battle until the end, with fans on their feet in excitement. Curry had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The game featured quite a few Los Angeles natives including Klay Thompson, Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

“Being able to be a part of this, to come from where I come from and come out here and be a starter for an All-Star Game in my hometown, it definitely was a dream come true,” said DeRozan who finished with 21 points for Team Curry.

Team Stephen’s guard Stephen Curry, center, of the Golden State Warriors cannot get a shot off against Team LeBron’s forward Kevin Durant, left, of the Golden State Warriors and forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Team LeBron went on a 21-9 run to pull within a single point in the fourth quarter. A layup by reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook gave Team LeBron a 3-point advantage.

In the end, it was the imposing defense of Durant on Curry in the final seconds, with Team Curry trailing by three, that ended the game with a win for Team LeBron.

Team LeBron played for the After-School All-Stars, a leading provider of year-round, school-based comprehensive after school programs that aim to keep children safe and help them succeed both inside and outside the classroom. The After-School All-Stars Los Angeles will receive a $350,000 donation while the beneficiaries of Team Stephen, the Brotherhood Crusade will receive $150,000.

Categories: Basketball | News (Sports) | Sports
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