Nick Wright reacts to LeBron James winning his 3rd All-Star Game MVP

Ebony Scott
February 20, 2018

The 67th version of the All-Star Game on Sunday night features teams picked by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The Warriors can just barely free up the cap space to sign James outright, but it would mean gutting their team, and having Durant take a massive pay cut, something he already did this season.

Now that the break is almost over, there's one big question heading into the remaining 24 games of the regular season: Did the Warriors get the rest they needed?

For the first time in history two players had their names as the team names during an all-star game.

Fitting, then, that the final play of the game - with a three-point lead in-hand - was a defensive trap in the corner that prevented Team Stephen from getting a good look to tie the game. I know you want to make your mark here, but it might be better to go classic. "Everybody just falls in line when the game tells you to".

Regular season MVP James Harden (12 points, 5/19 shooting) also struggled for Team Stephen, which received even contribution from a range of players, including Damian Lillard (21 points), DeMar DeRozan (21 points), Joel Embiid (19 points), Karl-Anthony Town (17 points), Giannis Antetokounmpo (16 points) and Klay Thompson (15 points). The previous four All-Star Games had been the highest scoring ever in regulation.

Late in the fourth quarter, with Team Stephen ahead eight, 136-128, Team LeBron's Kyrie Irving drove down the lane and dished to James for a layup and a foul, cutting the lead to five after the resulting free throw.

"It's great to play with guys in your conference, East-West. That changed it up and gave it a new-found energy".

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"I took Kevin (Durant) first, then Anthony Davis, Kyrie (Irving) and DeMarcus (Cousins)", he said.

The 33-year-old James, who was playing in his 14th all-star game, scored the eventual winning basket on a finger roll layup with 34 seconds left in the fourth to make if 146-145. "To play with Kemba, LeBron, Bradley and guys from the Eastern Conference, you mix it up and get to know them on a different level, so when you play with them your respect level just rises up".

"It definitely worked out", James said.

"We talked a lot about him not being able to guard me", Embiid said of Green. That's the beauty of being on the floor with a bunch of all-stars.

Cousins was unable to play due to an Achilles tendon injury and was replaced by Paul George. But from there, the top vote getter from each conference (LeBron James and Steph Curry this season) drafted teams from a pool of the other starters and the reserves selected by National Basketball Association head coaches.

"We wanted to kind of change the narrative of the All-Star Game being a joke", Kevin Durant said. "It's always been my fans who voted me in. I'm going to get him to sign the round one - nobody thinks I can get my globe signed, and it's round, not flat".

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