Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum dropped an eye-watering 55 points as Team Giannis beat Team LeBron 184-175 in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game in Utah.
Tatum walked away with the Kobe Bryant MVP Award after shooting 22-for-31 – including a 10-for-18 shooting line from 3-point range.
Fellow Team Giannis draftee Donovan Mitchell put up 40 points while shooting 15-for-25 including a 8-for-17 line from beyond the arc.
The game was nothing but relentless scoring – with both teams averaging over 40 points per quarter.
But the game’s lack of defense was criticized by both social media and the players in the aftermath of the contest – with Celtics guard Jaylen Brown quipping, ‘That’s not basketball.’
Team Giannis won the 2023 NBA All-Star Game thanks to a great game from Jayson Tatum
Opposing team captain LeBron James left the game in the second quarter after hitting his hand on the rim after going up for a block.
‘I got my finger caught in the rim, but I’ll be fine,’ James said after the game – adding that he sat himself out the rest of the night ‘for cautionary reasons’.
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers drained the decisive 3-pointer to get Team Giannis past the target score of 182. Lillard also made eight 3-pointers while scoring 26 points.
Jaylen Brown of the Celtics led Team LeBron with 35 points and a game-high 14 rebounds as a reserve player. Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks had 32 points and 15 assists and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers also scored 32 points for Team LeBron.
Tatum split two free throws to get point No. 53 and make it 177-162. He surpassed the 52 point record set by Anthony Davis in 2017.
Tatum was 22-of-31 shooting and also contributed 10 rebounds and six assists. His 10 three’s are second in All-Star history behind the 16 that Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors made in last season’s game.
James, who scored 13 points in 14-plus minutes while serving as captain of Team LeBron, shares the All-Star selections record of 19 with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He fell to 5-1 as an All-Star captain.
Antetokounmpo scored the game’s first points on a dunk 15 seconds into the contest but then exited for the night.
Tatum scored 55 points – a record in the NBA All-Star Game – winning the MVP Award
LeBron James hurt his hand in the second quarter – sitting himself for ‘precautionary reasons’
In his absence, draftees Kyrie Irving (2) and Joel Embiid (21) each grabbed 32 points this game
The captain of Team Giannis sprained his right wrist in Milwaukee’s final regular-season game before the break on Thursday night. He is now 1-2 as a captain.
According to ESPN sources, Antetokounmpo will travel to New York to undergo further evaluations on that wrist.
Tatum (27 points), Mitchell (14) and Lillard (14) combined for 55 of Team Giannis’ 59 third-quarter points as the squad took a 158-141 advantage
Tatum was 10 of 14 from the field in the quarter, including 7 of 11 from 3-point range.
Another third-quarter highlight was Lillard stopping just short of the half-court line and swishing the long-range shot to make it 142-125 with 4:10 left in the period.
Celtics teammates Tatum (L) and Brown (R) had one of the few defensive moments of the night
Team Giannis led 99-92 at halftime with Tatum scoring 17 points and Mitchell adding 16. Irving had 18 on 8-of-9 shooting to pace Team LeBron.
Both teams combined for 168 second half points and 191 first half points – blowing the over/under line of 324 out of the water.
It was that drastic, 35 point difference from the line that set some fans and media members off on Twitter.
One of the only defensive moments from the night came as Brown and Tatum – the two dueling Celtics stars – ran one iso play that led to a stop by Tatum.
‘I think it’s time to retire “the Elam ending saved the All-Star game,” considering it was a 6-point game and the game point and there was exactly zero uptick in defense,’ wrote Knicks beat writer Fred Katz.
‘I get it, I really do, but if you love basketball this is so hard to watch,’ wrote Sporting Tribune founder Arash Markazi.
‘All-Star Games are a glorified open gym but idk the fact nobody actually tried in the fourth quarter was a little annoying,’ wrote Complex Sports’ Kameron Hay.
Social media was quick to criticize the lack of defensive effort in this year’s contest