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Perfect Giannis powers Team LeBron to All-Star Game win as James sits out 2nd half

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LeBron James didn't want to be here in the first place.

It turns out his team didn't need him.

Team LeBron cruised to a 170-150 All-Star Game win over Team Durant on Sunday as James watched the second half from the bench. Giannis Antetokounmpo was perfect from the field, while Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard held their own in-game 3-point contest to lead the rout.

Team LeBron won each of the first three quarters to carry a 146-125 edge into the final stanza, meaning that the first team to 170 points would win, per the game's Elam ending format. It was far too steep a hill to climb for Team Durant.

With the win, James improves to 4-0 as an All-Star captain under the new format that was adopted in 2018.

Giannis doesn't miss in MVP effort

Team LeBron produced several noteworthy performances, but none bigger than Antetokounmpo, who tallied 35 points and seven rebounds without missing a shot en route to MVP honors.

Fifteen makes in, he rolled the dice with his perfect game by launching a contested 3-pointer in the third quarter. A friendly bounce off the backboard upped his tally to 16 of 16 from the field, including all three of his 3-point attempts.

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He did not shoot again.

With the effort, Antetokounmpo became the first player in All-Star Game history with a perfect shooting night from the field while attempting at least 10 shots.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team James is presented the MVP award after his team defeated Team Durant in the 70th NBA All-Star Game at State Farm Arena on March 07, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo's historic performance earned All-Star MVP honors. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Dueling sharpshooters Dame, Steph

Curry and Lillard, meanwhile, put on a show to rival the 3-point contest that Curry won earlier Sunday. Lillard tallied 32 points, while connecting on 8-of-16 3-point attempts. Curry matched Lillard's 8-of-16 effort from deep en route to 28 points.

By the end of the first half, the sharpshooters were toying with Team Durant, launching and hitting back-to-back half-court shots.

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Lillard sealed the victory with a 3-pointer from just beyond halfcourt.

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LeBron content to watch after criticizing game

James, who repeatedly questioned the wisdom of holding the exhibition game amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tallied four points in 13 minutes. Lillard — who many deemed a snub from the starting lineup — started the second half in his place as James snacked on the bench.

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James did not return to the game.

Bradley Beal led Team Durant with 26 points, while Kyrie Irving scored 24 and James Harden and Jayson Tatum added 21 each. Durant didn't play due to a lingering hamstring strain.

Late 76ers scratches after potential COVID exposure

Both teams saw late scratches on Sunday after a pair of Philadelphia 76ers players were ruled out per the league's COVID-19 protocols. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both reportedly received haircuts from a barber who tested positive for COVID-19.

Neither player has confirmed testing positive. Embiid was slated to start for Team Durant, while Simmons was scheduled to come off the bench for Team LeBron.

Big wins for both charities

The Team LeBron victory added up to a big win for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The winner of each quarter secured a $150,000 donation for its designated charity, while the game winner earned a $300,000 charity bonus. Team LeBron swept the charity bonuses for an additional $750,000 donation to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Each team's designated charity started the game with a base $500,000 donation. Team Durant played for the United Negro College Fund.

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