So, guess I was a little mistaken about the All-Star game.
The format this year turned out to be absolutely fantastic. Two teams, made up of the best players in the world (that are fit and healthy), going at it in front of a packed arena, in one of the best cities in America.
As pretty much expected, the first two quarters were split, with Team LeBron winning the first (53-41), and Team Giannis getting the second (51-30). $100,000 a-piece for their chosen charities. The half-time interviews with Chris Paul (Team LeBron) and Giannis Antetokounmpo were clearly a sign of things to come. Chris Paul indicated that they were keeping a track of the overall score, were here to win. Giannis was adamant that “they (Team LeBron) were going to bring it hard in the second half” and that his team “needed to match them”.
Third quarter ended up with an exciting 41-41 tie, meaning the $100,000 would be added to the $200,000 that was reserved for the final quarter. The score was 133-124 in favour of Team Giannis. Target total was set, 157. First team to get there would be declared the winner. What followed was a group players who were playing a level of defence that I haven’t seen in the NBA for a long time, let alone at what is effectively an exhibition game. Joel Embiid playing “bully-ball”, Kyle Lowry taking charges, defences putting themselves in the way of the attacking team and the iconic block by Giannis on LeBron. At one stage it seemed like the score was stuck on 154-153 for an age, with Team LeBron effectively needing one basket. First LeBron himself, and then Chris Paul missed the required 3-point shot. Eventually, James Harden hit the 3, only for it to be ruled out for an offensive foul. In the end, with LeBron’s team only needing a point, Lowry fouled Anthony Davis. 2 free-throws. Game was over, and in an anti-climactic way. Davis has a career success rate of 80% on free-throws, and has hit 85% of them this season. He only needed to make one of the shots, and end all hope for Team Giannis who had amassed 155 points.
He missed the first.
Were we going to keep going?
No, we were not. Davis sunk the second, ending the game, and adding the $300,000 to the $100,000 that they’d already accumulated.
Most players talk about a game that took place behind closed doors, during the 1992 Olympics. That particular Olympics saw the American team include professional players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the first time. The team was known as the “Dream Team”. During one training session, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan picked teams, and they played. It is believed by the players who took part that it was the best game of basketball ever played. If that highly spoken of game was anything like the 4th quarter of 2020 All-Star game, then it must have been one hell of match.
What a game! What a battle! My only request is that maybe next year we make it an extra 50 points in the final quarter, in the hope that it never ends.