Team Giannis and Team LeBron put on a clinic in toughness in what was arguably the best NBA All-Star Game ever played. It was the perfect tribute to Kobe Bryant.
Unfortunately, the contest ended in a semi-controversial way when Kyle Lowry was called for a foul as he pulled Anthony Davis to the ground. The Lakers’ big man was rewarded with two free throws and he sunk the second one to give Team LeBron a hard-fought 157-155 win. No one complained about the intensity and effort, from both teams. However, the idea that a foul shot could decide the game did irk quite a few people.
“Tough loss, but to me, it was probably the best All-Star Game ever. Everyone competed,” Sixers big man Joel Embiid told ESPN. “I had fun … but I don’t agree that you should be able to win on a free throw so I’m hot happy about that. Overall, great weekend. I had a lot of fun.”
Embiid, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, wasn’t the only one mad about the All-Star ending. Once the “target score” was set at 157, many thought all fouls should have been enforced by inbounding the basketball and not foul shots. The fact that the refs had a major impact on the final outcome seemed to be an issue.
It’s something to consider for next year. Remember, the adjusted “Kobe Rules” turned off the clock in the fourth quarter and set a target score by adding 24 points to the total of whichever team had the lead through three quarters. Other than the awkward ending, the new rules were applauded.
“Everybody was like, ‘That was pretty damn fun,’” team captain LeBron James said.
Davis Claims He Missed First Foul Shot On Purpose
When Anthony Davis’ first foul shot clanked off the rim, there was a momentary thought that the Lakers star might blow the game. He only needed to make one but the pressure was on.
Davis was playing in his hometown of Chicago and during a night dedicated to Kobe Bryant. Of course, he redeemed himself by making the second free throw and giving Team LeBron the victory.
After the game, Davis indicated that he actually missed the first foul shot on purpose to put more pressure on himself. Sounds like a lie, no?
“I told my team I was going to miss the first on purpose just to put a little more pressure on myself here at home,” Davis told a sideline reporter. “So I made it look good, made the miss look good, back rim.”
Davis finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, including the decisive free throw to hit the target score of 157. Kawhi Leonard took home MVP honors — the first Kobe Bryant MVP Award — after going for 30 points and hitting eight 3-pointers on the night. Team LeBron’s charity of choice, Chicago Scholars, earned $300,000 thanks to the win.
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