If you were disappointed by the dud dunk contest on Saturday night, the actual All-Star Game more than made up for it on Sunday. Stephen Curry put on an all-time show with an All-Star Game record 16 3-pointers en route to 50 points, taking home the first Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP trophy as Team LeBron -- on the strength of a LeBron James walk-off jumper -- edged Team Durant 163-160 in a wild Elam Ending finish.
Here are three big takeaways from a great night in Cleveland.
1. Steph goes nuclear
Even in a game where nobody was playing a lick of defense through the first three quarters, watching Curry get as hot as he did was nothing short of jump-out-of-your-seat thrilling. As mentioned, the man cashed 16 -- sixteen! -- 3-pointers, demolishing the previous record of nine held by Paul George (2016).
If you added up the distance on these shots you might end up in Akron, where Curry and LeBron were both born. Cleveland isn't too fond of Curry as he won three titles at the Cavs' expense, but nobody can deny the energy jolt of watching Curry go nuts. Curry isn't usually at his best in All-Star games, and it's been a rough shooting season for him so far, but he was scorching hot from the start on Sunday.
"Steph, I mean, come on, man. This guy is from a different planet," LeBron James said after the game. "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're watching on, you think it's going in every time. And nine times out of 10, sometimes 10 times out of 10, it does go in. So to be out there and watch that kid from Akron as well shoot the ball the way he shot it, it was unbelievable. It was pretty cool."
2. LeBron channels his inner-Jordan
LeBron didn't have a great shooting night, missing nine of his 11 3-pointers and finishing well under 50 percent from the field despite a bunch of uncontested layups and dunks, but he ended it the right way with a ridiculously difficult fadeaway to seal the win for his team.
Where have we seen that shot before? That looks a lot like Michael Jordan. That was not lost on LeBron, who spoke at length after the game about the influence Jordan had on him as a young kid and eventually as an NBA player.
"It's crazy that the game-winning shot tonight was a fadeaway, and it was inspired by MJ," LeBron said.
A quick reminder of the context around that LeBron game-winner. The Elam Ending plays to a target score rather than with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
The target score is calculated by adding 24 points to the total of the team that's ahead after three quarters. That number came out to 163. LeBron hit it with the fadeaway
And can we talk about the difficulty of that shot? It might've looked like an MJ shot, and the late great Kobe Bryant for that matter, but usually those guys were taking fadeaways from closer to the elbow or along the baseline. That was about a 20-footer with every ounce of his momentum falling away from the basket. The strength required to get that shot to the rim, let alone to make it, is freaky.
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3. Ja Morant owes the people
I can't believe I'm going to mention Saturday night's horrific dunk contest for a second time when I promised myself I would never speak of it again, but man that thing stunk. The only way the NBA can make up for it next year? Get Ja Morant entered!
This guy is an absolute freak of a dunker, a combination of vertical explosion, effortless athleticism and sheer finishing force that I'm not sure we've ever seen. Derrick Rose in his prime comes to mind, but I think Morant is on even another level.
First, he threw down a reverse alley-oop after damn near hitting the back of his head on the rim.
Then he finished a 360 alley-oop courtesy of a 40-foot lob from Trae Young.
Both those dunks probably win Saturday night's contest. And they were in a game. Give this guy an open runway and some time to plan out his contest dunks and he'll take us back to LaVine-Gordon/Jordan-Dominique/Vince Carter glory days.