With just over seven minutes to go Team LeBron decided to ratchet up the defensive intensity and offensive focus and were able to close an 11-point deficit to win the 2018 All-Star game 148-145.
Andre Drummond, a member of Team LeBron, scored 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting and had several nice dunks on the night.
While it’s not uncommon for the players to decide to play defense in the final minutes, this year’s All-Star game was different. The players decided to turn up the defense and focus just enough throughout the night to make the game entertaining.
Then late it had the feel of an actual game, maybe even a playoff game. Both sides obviously wanted to win, and the game ended up hinging on a defensive play. Team Steph was down three and everyone in the world knew Steph Curry was getting the ball. LeBron James and Kevin Durant suffocated Steph on the perimeter and he never got a shot off.
He ended up in the coffin corner after being unable to shake his multiple defenders and pass the ball to a teammate who couldn’t get a shot before the buzzer sounded.
Moments earlier the players demanded that the refs review an out-of-bounds call with the game within a point and less than a minute left. The refs (and the replay reviewers got it wrong, but it’s the thought that counts).
There were several hard fouls and players bodies were all over the floor. It was, as far as All-Star games go, the best you could possibly hope for.
James was masterful in leading his team to victory. He scored a game-high 29 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Team Steph was led by DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard with 21 points each. Lillard seemed like he was going to overcome any possible comeback in the fourth with some seriously hot shooting.
Watch some Andre Drummond highlights.
The lowlights of the night were definitely an extremely listless Staples Center crowd who had a much harder time getting into the game than the players did. However, they had a ready excuse — an absolutely horrendous and overly long pregame show that featured a bit between Rob Riggle and Kevin Hart, and then Hart doing player intros. It was apparently awful.
That was followed up by Fergie doing the national anthem and, at least according to my Twitter timeline, it did not go over well at all.
Full disclosure, I missed all of the proceedings because intros for All-Star games are always way too long. But I had not idea just how lucky I was to miss this year’s version.
The halftime show was much better, with N.E.R.D. and Migos performing an energetic medley with a roving camera, incredible dancers and some NBA mascots rocking out (look it up).