Team LeBron defeated Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night, 170-150. Damian Lillard won the game on a nearly half-court three-pointer:
Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 35 points as he went a perfect 16/16 from the field, including 3/3 from beyond the arc. Lillard and Steph Curry combined for 60 points and each went 8/16 from three-point land.
Bradley Beal, the NBA’s leading scorer up to this point, led Team Durant with 26 points on 10/16 shooting. Kyrie Irving added 24 points.
All-Star Game Format
The NBA continued to implement the new scoring format that achieved much fanfare after it was introduced during last year’s edition of the All-Star Game, which was played at the United Center.
The scores are reset at the beginning of the second and third quarters, making each quarter a separate competition in and of itself. The winning team from each quarter wins money to donate to a charity of their choice.
While the scores are reset at the beginning of each quarter, the cumulative score across the first three quarters is added up. Twenty-four points is then added to the winning team’s score and is made the target score. This score needs to be achieved in order for the game to end. The NBA decided to implement this rule and use 24 points in honor of Kobe Bryant, who wore the same uniform number.
Team LeBron won each of the first three quarters by one, 19, and one point respectively, and headed into the fourth quarter with a cumulative score lead of 146-125. The target score was set at 170, which Team LeBron easily reached before Team Durant.
Zach LaVine’s Performance
The Chicago Bulls had a representative in the All-Star Game for the first time since Jimmy Butler represented the team in the 2017 All-Star Game.
LaVine first took part in the Three-Point contest, which took place before the game itself. There were six participants: LaVine, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, and Stephen Curry.
There were some new rules added to the contest, including two “Mountain Dew Balls”, which are two deep three-point shots in between the two wings and the top of the key.
Each player could also designate one of five racks of balls as the “Money Rack”, in which each of the five balls would be a money ball (worth two points).
The top three scorers advanced to the final round and, unfortunately, LaVine was tied for fourth place, scoring 22 points alongside Donovan Mitchell. Mike Conley, Steph Curry and Jayson Tatum advanced to the final round, which Curry won.
LaVine provided a couple cool highlights during the actual game. He hit a three-pointer for his first career All-Star game points:
He also received a nice alley-oop pass from Kyrie Irving:
To put the finishing touches on the quarter, LaVine took a James Harden bounce pass in the paint and finished with a nice layup:
Overall, LaVine scored 13 points on 5/10 shooting and hit a couple of three-pointers as well.
The Bulls return to action on Thursday as they play host to the Philadelphia 76ers. A win against the best team in the East would be an excellent way for the Bulls to resume their season after the All-Star break.