The 2019 NBA All-Star Game is in the books, and once again, the new format didn't disappoint. After taking the first half to show out and make highlights, things got serious even earlier than last season's edition. Team LeBron turned up the heat in the second half to flip a 20-point deficit into a 178-164 victory.
Warriors forward Kevin Durant was named All-Star Game MVP after finishing with 31 points and seven rebounds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came out fired up, throwing down all sorts of slams in the opening few minutes. Then, later in the first half, he made the , soaring to throw down an incredible bounce pass alley-oop from Steph Curry -- his first pick in the All-Star Draft. Giannis and his Bucks teammate Khris Middleton had Team Giannis out to a big lead, but they couldn't hold on.
Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal led the way in the third quarter, draining a barrage of 3-pointers to get Team LeBron back in the game. Then, the starters came back in to finish the job. LeBron finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in a captain's effort.
Giannis led all scorers with 38 points, while Middleton and Paul George added 20 points for Team Giannis. Here are some takeaways from an entertaining night.
K.D. turns it on to win MVP
Durant is no stranger to clutch buckets (see: the last two NBA Finals), and he knew just when to turn things on down the stretch on Sunday night. He got it going late as Team LeBron completed its comeback and put the game out of reach.
LeBron is still LeBron
Giannis started off the game like he was gunning for the MVP as his team built a big lead, but when it came down to crunch time it was LeBron James who once again took center stage. He hit a big 3-pointer from the corner and then threw down an alley-oop from Kyrie Irving to give Team LeBron a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
You can point to the dunks, rebounds, assists or just the plain energy, but maybe the most interesting thing about Antetokounmpo's All-Star Game was that he knocked down two of his six 3-point attempts. This is obviously the next iteration of the Greek Freak's game, but this was the hint that it might come sooner than we thought. For a guy who can do things like this insane alley-oop from earlier in the game, that's a scary thought.
Steph can't shoot, but he can dunk?
Most expected Stephen Curry to put on a show for his home fans, but instead he had an uncharacteristically terrible shooting night, making only 4-of-17 3-point attempts as his team took the loss. As a silver lining, however, Curry threw down one of the best dunks of the night in the closing seconds -- a self-alley-oop reverse that got the crowd going.
LeBron to Wade, one more time
This will be the last time we get to see a Dwyane Wade-to-LeBron James alley-oop, so savor it. The old duo who won two championships together in Miami connected for a huge highlight in the third quarter.
Dirk goes out in style
If this is Dirk Nowitzki's last All-Star Game (and by all accounts it will be), he certainly went out on a good note. The 40-year-old made all three of his 3-pointers in the first half before exiting for the remainder of the game.