All-Star Weekend? Try Just Sunday

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Sunday night was basketball night with the NBA hosting the dunk contest, 3-point shootout and All-Star game — three events that usually require a full weekend. This year it was Team LeBron vs. Team Durant. Each player got to pick players in a draft style format to create their All-Star team. 

Team LeBron was as follows: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Domantas Sabonis and Rudy Gobert. 

Team Durant also had a strong roster: Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, James Harden, Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

The first event of the night was the Skills Challenge. Domantas Sabonis from the Indiana Pacers took this event with relative ease. Going against very skilled players such as Doncic and Paul, Sabonis was still able to pull off the win with excellent passing and dribbling skills for a big man as well as a nearly perfect shooting percentage.

The second event was the 3-point shootout. Back to reclaim his crown from 2015, Curry put on quite the show, scoring 31 in his first round letting the field know he intended to win again. It came as a shock to few that Curry won the 3-point competition, but it was actually quite close. In the final round, Conley had a 27-point round to increase the pressure. With just one ball left — a money ball worth two points — Curry was able to eke out a victory over Conley. 

The Dunk Competition had some entertaining slams, but there was an energy missing this year without an arena full of fans eager to see the highest flyers in the NBA go at it. It came down to two, Anfernee Simons and Obi Toppin. Toppin showcased his talent well despite being a rookie and finished second. Simons locked in first when he finished with his final dunk by nearly kissing the rim before slamming the ball. This dunk impressed the judges, especially given Simons’ 6’4” stature. 

Though each team put on a show in the All-Star Game, Team LeBron managed to win each quarter, raising over a million dollars in charity. With the combined forces of Lillard and Curry shooting from everywhere, including half court, and Antetokounmpo dominating in the paint and hitting some unexpected threes, it was too much for Team Durant to handle. At the end of the night, Antetokounmpo was crowned MVP with an All-Star record of 16-for-16 shooting, the most shots without a miss in All-Star game history.

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