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“All-Star Weekend Is A Celebration Of The Basketball Community” | NBA All-Star Game Does Not Disappooint

todayFebruary 21, 2022 5

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The stars were out in full force and shining bright on Sunday night in Cleveland. 

The best shooter to ever play the game, Steph Curry made sure that was never in doubt with an NBA all-star game record 16 three-pointers. On the other end of the court, MVP front-runner Joel Embiid was sensational with 36 points and 10 rebounds.

But in the end, it was the King who came home.

In the house that he built, LeBron James hit a turnaround, stepback 20-footer to give Team James a 163-160 victory over Team Durant in the 71st edition of the NBA All-Star game. 

Make no mistake, with the NBA’s best players together in one place, Utah big man Rudy Gobert made sure that everyone knew he belonged. 

Known for his dominant defensive game, the all-star game seriously lacks defense, so many have questioned how Gobert’s skillset would translate. He put those arguments to rest with an impressive showing in the second quarter, throwing down two highlight-reel dunks that proved he’s much more than the defensive player of the year.

Unfortunately for Utah fans watching the game, they only got to see one-half of their team’s dynamic duo. While Gobert played well — and smiled while doing so — Donovan Mitchell missed the game. After missing practice the other day, Mitchell was officially ruled out due to an upper respiratory illness (non-COVID-related).

It’s unknown what Mitchell’s prognosis will be moving forward, but the Jazz aren’t scheduled to return to the court until Friday when they host Luka Doncic and Dallas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST.

“It is a great honor and has always been a dream of mine to be selected as an NBA All-Star,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Remorsefully, I will not be able to play in tonight’s All-Star Game due to an upper respiratory illness (non-COVID-related). The entire All-Star weekend is a celebration of the basketball community, the fans and the sport I am blessed to play. I’m focused on getting well and back out on the court. Thank you for all the get-well wishes. I can’t wait to see the game later today.”

With Mitchell out, Gobert made sure to give the fans a good representation of Utah basketball. He checked in late in the first quarter and instantly made his presence felt, including an impressive 360 dunk that many didn’t know he could pull off. He finished the game with six points and six rebounds on 3-of-3 shooting in 13 minutes for Team Durant. 

Not known for being played at an extremely high level, the fourth quarter of the all-star game did not disappoint. With the new format set up the way it is, it gives the players a purpose in playing every quarter and the final 12 minutes proved that. 

With Curry launching from three-pointers to break the all-star game record for most points in a game, Team LeBron got great contributing buckets late by Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan to put them one bucket away from victory. But Embiid and Zach Lavine did their best to make it a game, with Lavine’s five-straight points making it come down to a “next basket wins” format. 

Enter James. 

After leading Cleveland to a title in 2016, overcoming a 3-1 deficit in doing so, James gave the hometown faithful a moment of deja vu. Guarded by Lavine, James calmly called for the ball and promptly hit a turnaround jumper for the game, made even more impressive considering Embiid coming over to double him.

Curry led the way 50 points, knocking down 16-of-27 from beyond the arc while adding five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists, while James added 24 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. 

For Team Durant, Trae Young finished with 13 points and 10 assists, Devin Booker added 20 points and four steals, and Lamelo Ball finished with 18 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

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