LeBron James had the first overall pick for the 2023 NBA All-Star game, choosing 76ers’ star center Joel Embiid. Despite having Embiid and Nikola Jokic, two top MVP candidates, it was Jayson Tatum and Team Giannis that stole the show.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was in the game for only one play, scoring a basket, due to a sprained right wrist, while LeBron James played only a half because of a right-hand contusion. Despite the two captains seeing far less playing time than fans had hoped, there was plenty of action from other top stars in the league.
The teams were tied at 46 after the first quarter and Team Giannis took a 99-92 lead at the half. After putting up 59 points in the third quarter, Team Giannis went up by 17 after three quarters. Team LeBron won the fourth quarter, 34-26, but the game went to Team Giannis, 184-175.
The big competition was the battle for game MVP between Jayson Tatum, and Donovan Mitchell, who combined for over half of Team Giannis’ points. Mitchell scored 40 on 8-of-17 from beyond the arc and added 10 assists. Tatum hit 22-of-31 from the floor including 10-of-18 from three-point range. He finished with a record-high 55 points, breaking the previous record of 52 set by Anthony Davis in 2017.
Damian Lillard added 26 points on 8-of-20 from beyond the arc. All 13 players on Team Giannis got into the scoring column.
For Team LeBron, Jalen Brown led the way off the bench with 35 points and 14 rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored 32 points and added 15 assists. Joel Embiid also added 32 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Deaaron Fox was the only player not to score, going 0-for-1 with two assists in nine minutes of action.
The loss by Team LeBron was his first after five consecutive victories.
While Jayson Tatum led Team Giannis to victory, in other news, LeBron James has injured his foot, which we’ll discuss next.