LeBron James gave Cleveland one more win.
Playing for the home team in his native Northeast Ohio, the former Cavaliers star drilled a fadeaway jump shot to give his squad a 163-160 victory in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
"I could not have dreamed of that moment any better than the actuality that just happened," said James. "For me to be back here, 35 minutes south of where I grew up here in Akron, Ohio, to hit the game-winner in the All-Star Game where me and my guys back in the back, we used to watch the All-Star Game. I remember 25 years ago we were 12, 11, wishing that we had the opportunity or the means to come up to Cleveland and see some of the greatest basketball players of all time because they inspired us so much."
Team LeBron entered the fourth quarter with a 139-138 lead over Team Durant, setting the target score at 163 (24 more than the leading team entering the final frame). DeMar DeRozan's jumper gave Team LeBron a comfortable 161-155 lead, but his Chicago Bulls teammate, Zach LaVine, scored five straight points to pull Team Durant within 161-160. But James called for the ball on the right side and drilled the winner over LaVine.
"It's crazy that the game-winning shot tonight was a fadeaway," said James, "and it was inspired by [Michael Jordan]," who was in attendance for the presentation of the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team at halftime. James and Jordan shared an embrace during the festivities. "We're not in the same building a lot and haven't been in the same building a lot throughout my career, and it meant something to me."
The game previously belonged to Stephen Curry, who took home MVP honors after making a record-setting 16 3-pointers and scoring 50 points for Team LeBron. He made 16 of his 27 attempts from beyond the arc, shattering Paul George's previous record of nine made triples in an All-Star Game. The record of 14 made 3-pointers in a regular-season game belongs to Curry's Golden State Warriors teammate, Klay Thompson.
Curry made five straight 3-pointers during an electrifying shooting display midway through the third quarter. A 42-foot heat check heave from halfcourt put a stop to the streak, but he finished the quarter 7 for 10 from deep. A floater gave Curry his 50 points and Team LeBron a 149-145 advantage in the fourth. His running mates down the stretch — James, DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jarrett Allen — tried feeding him to top Anthony Davis' All-Star Game scoring record of 52 points, but a tired Curry missed his last six shots.
Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and James added 24 for Team LeBron. Their roster was down to 10 players. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell withdrew from the game with a non-COVID illness, and Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul played just two minutes with a broken thumb that will keep him out for 6-8 weeks.
Joel Embiid led Team Durant with 36 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Devin Booker added 20 points. First-time All-Stars LaMelo Ball and Dejounte Murray had 18 and 17 points for Team Durant, respectively.
Team LeBron has never lost in four games since the NBA switched its format and allowed the leading vote-getters in each conference to select teams as captains. Durant has picked the losing team two years in a row. He missed both games due to injury, this time with a sprained MCL that has kept him out for a month.
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