Team Giannis got off to a fast start in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, but it turns out LeBron James and Co. were just saving their energy for the second half.
Behind a red-hot third quarter from Damian Lillard, Team LeBron took over late after quickly erasing a 13-point halftime deficit. A record 168 threes were attempted by both teams combined, with LeBron's squad hitting just under 40 percent of theirs.
Kevin Durant was Team LeBron's leading scorer with 31 points, and also contributed seven boards. The 2019 free agent (had to go there) was named the game's MVP, as well.
All-Star MVP number 2 for KD — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 18, 2019
31 PTS | 7 REBS pic.twitter.com/ItDuGFnw1u
Since changing the All-Star Game format two years ago, fans have noticed a surprising level of competitiveness on the defensive end of the floor come the fourth quarter. This was especially evident on Sunday night, as both teams tried to come away with a late victory. The bonuses don't hurt, either, as $100,000 is gifted to every player on the winning team. How's that for motivation?
Players on the All-Star winning team get $100,000. Perspective: The lowest paid starter on Team LeBron, Kyrie Irving, makes $122,556 in salary EVERY TWO QUARTERS of basketball his team plays for every game this season.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 18, 2019
Perhaps the most intriguing part of any All-Star game is the trolling, and this contest delivered plenty. From Kevin Durant messing with Joel Embiid to Steph Curry trolling his own teammate in Klay Thompson throughout, Charlotte had it all.
As for the looming tampering controversy regarding LeBron James and his team full of pending 2019 free agents, LBJ frequently found the likes of Kyrie Irving and Durant on the break. Anthony Davis, in the meantime, left early with an injury and did not return.