The NBA All-Star Weekend concluded after a lot of excitement for fans. However, it was a bittersweet time for players, with grumblings of the weekend being a “waste of time” getting louder.
Team Giannis Takes Charge
Antetokounmpo’s Team Giannis, the underdogs going into the game, prevailed Sunday night in the 2023 All-Star Game in Utah. Playing against Team LeBron, headed by LeBron James, the Greek Freak and his chosen squad won by a score of 184-175 at Vivint Arena. Additionally, LeBron saw his five-game winning streak end at the NBA All-Star Game come to an end.
LeBron chose Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic as his starters. Antetokounmpo knew what it would take to counter anything King James could throw at him and ultimately chose Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant, Donovan Mitchell and Lauri Markkanen for his starting lineup.
The contest was all Team Giannis. Tatum was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after an incredible run. He put up a solo record of 55 points to leave Team LeBron scratching its head.
Tatum had 10 of 18 triples and scored 27 points in the third period, setting another record. It was the most points for a single quarter in the All-Star game. At the end of his stellar performance, he raised the Kobe Bryant trophy after breaking the mark of LA Lakers star Anthony Davis, who scored 52 points in the 2017 All-Star game.
The matchup turned out to be atypical, with neither captain finishing on the court. Antetokounmpo was still dealing with his wrist injury that limited him to 20 seconds and only one basket in the entire matchup. On the opposite end, James did not play the second half after hitting his hand on the basket in a block attempt.
In addition to Tatum’s 55 points, Antetokounmpo’s crew relied on Mitchell’s 40 points. For Team LeBron, Brown led with 35 points, followed by Irving and Embiid, who put up 32 points each.
NBA Pros Unhappy With All-Star
It was an excuse to party for some NBA players and staff members. However, not everyone was happy with the activity. Several players, including Brown and Jokic, and coach Mike Malone, voiced their dissatisfaction with the level shown in the duel between Team LeBron and Team Giannis.
The main complaints weren’t with the level of play but with the concept of the game itself. Its outcome has no impact on the season, and more players are calling out the NBA for not managing the load better. In addition, the players aren’t willing to risk injury in an All-Star game and miss out on a chance of winning the title.
“This is not basketball,” said Brown. “Basketball is something else. I hope it will be more competitive in the future,” added the top scorer of the night for King James’ team.
Malone, coach of the Denver Nuggets, said of the game, “This has been the worst basketball game ever played. I don’t know if this can be fixed. I want to give credit to Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving because they have competed. They have tried to put up some defense.”
Also from the Nuggets, Jokic criticized what he experienced in Salt Lake. He asserted, “I’m not made for this game. [It’s] not for me.”