The NBA’s best players squared off in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland Ohio, with Team LeBron and Team Durant playing a tight game from start to finish as future Hall of Famers and young stars went head-to-head.

Team LeBron starters included the Los Angeles Lakers forward himself, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry. Reserves on Team LeBron included Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and fellow Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, injured but still participating in a limited capacity Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward Luka Doncic, and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden was selected (last overall after Durant’s refusal to draft his former teammate) but did not participate due to injury. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was a late scratch due to a non-COVID illness.

Injured Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant did participate due to injury, being replaced in the starting lineup by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. Tatum was joined in the starting lineup by Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. Team Durant’s bench consisted of Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray, Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, and Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green did not participate due to injury.

The two teams split the first two quarters, with Team LeBron winning the first quarter after two late Luka Doncic three-pointers and Team Durant winning the second quarter behind high scoring outputs from Devin Booker, Dejounte Murray, Joel Embiid, and LaMelo Ball. Team Durant led 94-93 overall at halftime, with Embiid (17 points) and Booker (16 points) pacing the scoring effort. Steph Curry led all scorers at halftime with 24 points on 8-of-11 three-point shooting, and LeBron James, in a homecoming of sorts in Cleveland, scored 13 points. Reigning All-Star Game MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16 points on red-hot 8-of-11 shooting in last year’s All-Star Game.

Curry obliterated the All-Star Game three-point shooting record in the third quarter. The previous record was nine, set by Paul George, but Curry ended the quarter with 45 points, exclusively via 15 three-pointers made, hitting a flurry of consecutive shots from deep in the third.

The third quarter ended in a 45-45 tie, with the period’s charity winnings being split between the two teams. Team Durant held on to a 139-138 lead heading in to the fourth quarter: a race to 163 points.

Team LeBron jumped out to a lead in the final period, but then Curry jacked up a couple more three-point attempts, going for the NBA All-Star Game single-game scoring record. His attempts fell short, allowing Team Durant to sneak back in to the game as Team LeBron led 161-160. But then against double coverage, James hit a jumper to lead his team to 163 points and win the game.

Curry was the easy pick for 2022 All-Star Game MVP after a historic shooting night, taking home the award for the first time in his career. The Golden State Warriors guard finished just two points shy of the All-Star Game record (Anthony Davis, 52,) netting 50 points on 17-of-30 shooting, primarily, through 16-of-27 three-point shooting.

Joel Embiid led Team Durant with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in a losing effort. Devin Booker had 20 points and first-time All-Star LaMelo Ball ad 18 points. Spurs guard Dejoute Murray had 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Team captain LeBron James had 24 points, six rebounds, and eight assists on 11-of-24 shooting, including the game-winner. Antetokounmpo had 30 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.

James’ teams remain undefeated at 5-0 in the current All-Star Game format, with wins over Team Stephen, Team Giannis, and now a second win over Team Durant.

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Header Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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