The Spectrum Center was effectively home to a rap concert Sunday night but the 2019 NBA All-Star Game still delivered in spades.
At the end, it was a 178-164 win for Team James, who overcame a huge third-quarter deficit, in what was a wild back-and-forth affair with Team Giannis.
Kevin Durant finished with a team-high 31 points for the winning team, and was named the NBA All-Star MVP after the game; the second of his career.
“It’s all sweet to me,” Durant said when asked where winning MVP ranks on his list of accomplishments.
“I mean, it’s hard to rank. Everything’s special. But it’s cool to be out there with some of the best players to ever play the game, and to win an MVP here in front of my family and friends is pretty sweet. I just keep trying to rack them up, I guess.”
Damian Lillard poured in 18 points off the bench, leading the way in a crucial second half-run to get Team LeBron back in the game.
Also impressive during that important stretch: Australia’s Ben Simmons, who had 10 points — shooting 5-of-5 from the field — six rebounds, and seven assists in his first All-Star Game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 38 points, to go with 11 rebounds and five assists, but his team couldn’t get their shots from downtown to fall late.
Team Giannis had control of the game for most of the evening, leading by as many as 20 points, before Lillard sparked that Team LeBron run; tying the game at 124-124 toward the end of the third quarter.
Going into the fourth quarter, Team LeBron had a one-point advantage, setting up an end to a game that naturally got more and more competitive as it progressed.
Team LeBron managed to get out on the break for most of the final quarter, while Team Giannis settled for threes; most of which, unfortunately for them, didn’t fall.
The bench squad of Team LeBron led the vital run in the third quarter, before Durant led the way as they finished the job down the stretch.
In the middle of the game, Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki — both of whom earned honorary roster spots — were given a tribute; the big German’s three-point barrage in the first half also among the highlights of the game.