LeBron James led his side to a 148-145 win over Stephen Curry and Team Stephen in the 67th annual NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Monday (AEDT).
James finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the match, taking home his third All-Star Game MVP award in a finish that was as intense as any All-Star Game has ever been.
The format for the showcase event was changed for the first time in the weekend’s history, with the usual East vs. West concept ditched for a more up-to-date way of selecting teams.
James and Curry, who both topped their respective conferences’ fan votes for the All-Star game, were then made captains and had to select from the remaining player pool to make up their rosters.
“I think myself and Stephen took it upon ourselves when we took on this format that we had to change the way this game was played,” said James.
Each member of the winning side also made $100,000, which was a huge increase from recent seasons, and it seemed to have a positive effect on the game.
The intensity of the game was put on show late, as James and his first selection in the draft, Golden State’s Kevin Durant, defended Curry strongly to force him to pass off a game-tying attempt, and celebrated accordingly when Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan failed to send the game into overtime.
DeRozan (21 points, six rebounds) and Portland’s Damian Lillard (21 points, three rebounds) led the way for Team Stephen, as Joel Embiid also starred in his first All-Star Game, going off for 19 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes.