ATLANTA – In the midst of a pandemic, it has been confirmed that it is an all-star NBA game like no other.
The stands were mostly empty. The crowd was flowing greatly. There were no A-list celebrities sitting in the stadium. Two players had to sit down after cutting their hair.
But in the end, it had a familiar feeling.
LeBron won again.
By dropping shots from across the field, the mighty LeBron James squad ended the first half with a dominant run to take a 170-150 lead over Durant’s side in the seventieth league mid-season show Sunday night.
He picked the best vote-holders at each team conference for the past four years, a duty that James received every season.
It is now 4-0, having defeated Stephen Curry’s team in 2018 and the teams that Milwaukee’s two-time champion Giannis Antiteconmou have defeated in the past two years.
This time, James drafted his former opponents and blew up Kevin Durant’s squad.
“I think he has a future as General Motors,” said Damien Lillard, an inspiring pick for James. “He is always right.”
Antetokounmpo was the best player in the game after his 16 of 16 shots for 35 points, even making all three of his attempts behind the 3-point bar. It was the most unmissable number of baskets in All-Star history.
“I just have fun,” said the Greek star. “Sometimes when you are having fun and not thinking about the outcome, you just let your instincts take over.”
Curry scored 28 points, while Lillard scored 32.
James spent most of the night admiring his crafting skills from the bench. He played under 13 minutes, scored only four points, and did not return to the field in the second half.
Instead, grab a seat snack.
“I know he was running his minutes tonight,” said Carey. “We had a great time, to portray him as captain. It was a definitely unforgettable night.”
It was a certainty for Carrie, who had previously won the 3-point competition and then 8 of 16 went out of the arc in the game.
Lillard matched him, also making 8 out of 16 out of a 3-point range.
This All-Star game was definitely different from the previous 69.
Determined to hold a mega-show of TV revenue and the league’s global brand, the NBA staged the game in a mostly empty downtown plaza, a splendor made for television that was symbolic of the coronavirus era.
Despite extensive security protocols in place, two players weren’t even able to report. Philadelphia stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been disqualified for having their hair cut by a barber who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The only good thing for Durant: he didn’t have to participate in that tossing, as he was sitting out of the game with a hamstring injury.
Bradley Bell led the Durant team with 26 points.
On a spotlight night on historic black colleges and universities, LeBron’s team swept the first three quarters and went to their target final result, earning a total of $ 750,000 for his charitable foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
The game spiraled out of control late in the second quarter.
With less defense, LeBron took turns backtracking on the alley passes. Chris Paul made successive fragments criticized by Lillard and Carrie. Subsequently, Paul was the receiving end of the Payback pass from Curry.
Showing he could handle the shots up close, LeBron headed out in the final seconds of the game.
Lillard pulled up for a 3-point half-pitch streak. Not to be outdone by Carrie, he knocked out one from roughly the same spot.
“It was so much fun,” said Lillard. “Steve and I shot a lot of 3 seconds. We shot 3 seconds deep. It was 3, 3, 3, 3, 3.”
Amidst the happy moments, the atmosphere at State Farm Arena was completely strange compared to the regular All-Star game.
Instead of a crowded house, with A-list celebrities thronging to the seats of the main stadiums, this game was attended by a few handpicked guests. They had plenty of space to spread out in a 17,000-seat venue essentially converted into a giant television studio, with spectators kept a great distance from the stadium.
Tall video screens are set up behind the seats. Vegas-style lights flashed all over the square. The recorded crowd noise blew above the sound system. Entertainment was provided by host Atlanta Hawks, who did not have any players in the game but was represented by fans, drum line, and DJs.
To address concerns that one of its biggest events will become a super-spreader of a virus that has killed more than half a million Americans, the NBA has scaled back its usual weekend rituals of extravagant parties, crowded streets and people watching.
This All-Star game was a one-night-only event, with two skill contests being held shortly before the match and the Dunk competition lapsing at the halftime break. The players traveled on Saturday afternoon and were largely confined to a nearby hotel except for their time on the field.
James said before the game, “That’s when every basketball player around the world comes to one city.” “We can sit and go,” Wow, that’s the game we built. “It’s a beautiful weekend for all walks of life, on earth and off.
“But I’m sitting here in my hotel room, lonely. My family isn’t here. I’m on my own. It’s different, to say the least, compared to previous years.”