CLEVELAND (AP) – Stephen Curry got another three-point record. LeBron James got another All-Star win.
Not a bad night in Ohio for the two All-Stars from Akron.
“It’s right on the nose of how it should go,” Curry said.
Curry turned boos to oohs and aahs with the greatest long-distance shooting performance in All-Star Game history, then James made a turnaround jumper that gave Team LeBron a 163-160 victory over Team Durant yesterday.
Curry made 16 three-pointers and scored 50 points, two off Anthony Davis’ record. He was clearly hunting it, asking on the sideline during a sizzling third quarter how many points it would take.
On a night both players were among the greats of the game who were honoured during a halftime ceremony celebrating the NBA’s 75th anniversary team, Curry and James showed why they continue to stand out among today’s best.
Curry, who earlier this season became the NBA’s career leader in three-pointers, missed his final attempt beyond the arc that would have allowed him to surpass Davis. But with James’ team needing a basket to reach the target score of 163 points, they couldn’t afford to keep feeding Curry.
So James pulled up from deep on the right side for the winning bucket, making him 5-0 in the format where the leading vote-getters in each conference draft teams.
The All-Star Game’s return to Cleveland was expected to be James’ night. He is the Cavaliers franchise’s greatest player, having led them to their only NBA championship in 2016.
Instead, he fittingly co-starred with Curry, who was born in the same Akron hospital three years later.
“Obviously I got the MVP; I played well the whole night. He hit the game-winner,” Curry said. “All the history of our series and the Akron ties, and all that kind of going into how the night went, so it was pretty – can’t really draw it up any other way.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points, increasing what was a 28.8 average that was already best in All-Star Game history. James finished with 24 in his old home. Joel Embiid led Team Durant with 36 points.
Curry finished 16 of 27 beyond the arc – sometimes well, well behind it. He launched a few from the All-Star 2022 logo near midcourt, running backward without even waiting to watch one go in.
The three-point arc is slightly more than 23 feet away. Curry had made shots listed from 37, 33 and 34 feet during one stretch of the third quarter,
“This guy is from a different planet. He literally has an automatic sniper connected to his arm, and when he lets it go, not only himself, but everybody on the floor, in the stands, on TV, on their phones, whatever you are watching on, you think it’s going in every time,” James said. “Nine times out of 10 and sometimes 10 times out of 10, it does go in.
“To be out there and watch that kid from Akron as well shoot the ball the way he shot it, it was unbelievable,” James said. “It was pretty cool.”
Curry had been booed all weekend, smiling through the sounds during pregame introductions as Cleveland fans made clear they hadn’t forgiven him for helping Golden State beat the Cavaliers three times in the NBA Finals from 2015-18.
But the fans were enjoying his show too much to keep going as the game went on, though the boos returned when he was presented the MVP award that in 2020 was renamed in honour of Kobe Bryant, who won a record-tying four of them.
The Kobe Bryant Trophy was redesigned this year and given to Curry in front of a crowd that included Bryant’s wife, Vanessa.
Curry received 11 of the 12 votes for the award, with James earning the other through a fan vote.
Michael Jordan was the last player introduced for the halftime ceremony and James said his winning shot was inspired by the turnaround fadeaway that Jordan perfected during his Hall of Fame career. It earned USD450,000 for the Kent State I Promise Scholars Programme, the charity James’ team was playing for.
It was a thrilling finish to an All-Star Game played again before a packed house after the 2021 game was contested in a mostly empty State Farm Arena in Atlanta, moved there because of the coronavirus pandemic after it was originally scheduled for Indianapolis.