Antetokounmpo fuels Team LeBron in All-Star romp

TEAM LEBRON FORWARD GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO of the Milwaukee Bucks (34) dunks the ball against Team Durant forward Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics (0) during the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at State Farm Arena. — REUTERS

GIANNIS Antetokounmpo made all 16 of his shots in a historic 35-point performance on Sunday night that propelled Team LeBron to a 170-150 victory over Team Durant in the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta.

After earlier capturing the NBA 3-Point Contest, Stephen Curry bombed in six 3-pointers in the first half and eight in all, totaling 28 points for Team LeBron, which won each of the first three quarters en route to a 146-125 lead that it massaged into the winning margin.

Each team lost a player when it was announced earlier in the day that Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would not be allowed to play due to COVID tracing. Each had gotten a haircut on Saturday from a barber who subsequently tested positive.

20-year-old Zion Williamson replaced Embiid in the Team Durant starting lineup, becoming the fourth-youngest starter in NBA history.

The win was the fourth in a row for the team selected by LeBron James under a revised roster dispersal that started in 2018. James played just 13 minutes in the first half before sitting out the entire second half with the game relatively in hand.

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Down 146-125 after three periods, the closest Team Durant got in the fourth quarter was 15.

Durant did not play in the game because of a hamstring injury.

Team LeBron took command of the game with a 27-8 flurry over the final 3:54 of the second quarter.

Damian Lillard contributed 11 points, Curry seven, Antetokounmpo five and Chris Paul four to go with five assists as they did all the scoring in a burst that turned a one-point lead into a 100-80 half time advantage.

Antetokounmpo’s 16-for-16 game doubled the previous All-Star record of the Philadelphia 76ers’ Hal Greer, who made all eight of his shots in the 1968 in-season classic.

For his effort, Antetokounmpo, who was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Lillard finished with 32 points, Jaylen Brown 22, and Paul George 17 for Team LeBron. Paul added team-highs in assists with 16 and rebounds with eight. — Reuters

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