NBA All-Star Weekend: Team LeBron run riot in victory over Team Durant; Steph Curry wins his second 3-point contest

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game after months of debate surrounding the decision to host one during a pandemic is officially in the books.

The league was able to hold an incident-free event on Sunday as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were held out due to contact tracing, however, they did not make close contact with the rest of the other All-Stars as the 22 remaining players battled it out with Team LeBron defeating Team Durant, 170-150.

Giannis Antetokounmpo voted the game’s MVP, led the way with 35 points on a perfect 16-of-16 shooting, but the eventful memory from the game has to be the shooting of Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard.

The duo, both on Team LeBron, posted an identical 8-of-16 shooting line from behind the arc, and both hit several shots from half-court range.

Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving combined for 50 points to lead Team Durant, but that just wasn’t enough to compete with what Curry, Lillard, and Antetokounmpo did for Team LeBron in the victory.

Watch Steph and Lillard drill insane 3s

For four years running now, the NBA has allowed LeBron James to play the role of General Manager once a year, serving as a captain for one of the two All-Star teams.

The result has literally been perfect.

James-led teams are now 4-0 in the All-Star Game, creating a nice symmetry with his four NBA championships. He’s played for three different teams, and now, he’s beaten three different opposing captains in the All-Star Game: Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Stephen Curry.

Watch the best plays of the night below

2021 NBA Skills Challenge: Domantas Sabonis tops Nikola Vucevic to win All-Star Sunday Night’s first event

NBA All-Star Weekend

The Skills Challenge took place first and it was between Nikola Vucevic and Domantas Sabonis who cruised to finals after upsetting Chris Paul and Luka Doncic respectively.

However, it was the Pacers big man who ultimately took the crown as Skills Challenge champion.

For most of the Skills Challenge’s history, the event was limited to guards but the league altered the format slightly to include big men since 2015.

Rather than having players do individual, timed runs through the course, they set up a bracket of guards vs. big men. Patrick Beverley won the inaugural version of that format, but big men proceeded to dominate from there.

The past six winners are Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jayson Tatum (who, by Skills Challenge standards, qualifies as a big), Bam Adebayo, and now, Sabonis.

2021 NBA 3-Point Contest: Stephen Curry fends off Mike Conley and Jayson Tatum to win in a thrilling fashion

NBA All-Star 3-point contest

The 3-Point Contest was held with Stephen Curry, Mike Conley and Jayson Tatum advancing out of the first round before the Warriors star recorded a score of 28 in the finals to bring home the hardware for the second time in his career.

Curry also became the only active player to win the competition twice.

It had looked like Mike Conley would take the trophy after putting up 27 points in the final round, but in typical Curry fashion, he seemed unstoppable as soon as he started to heat up.

He flexed his clutch gene on the final rack, which was the difference-maker in him winning.

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics finished in third place, after going cold in the final round and finishing with just 17 points. He had the second-highest score in the first round (25), but couldn’t find his touch in the next round.

2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest: Trail Blazers’ Anfernee Simons claim title over Knicks’ Obi Toppin

NBA All-Star slam dunk contest

The NBA All-Star weekend, all thanks to COVID-19, was condensed to a one-day event featuring the All-Star Game, 3-Point Contest, Skills Challenge, and the energy-packed Slam dunk contest.

The Dunk Contest took center stage at half-time and unlike most years, there were only three contestants: Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers, Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks, and Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Also, new this year, the final round was decided by a simple judges’ choice rather than the typical scoring.

In the end, the final came down to Simons vs. Toppin, and the judges chose Simons by a 3-2 vote to make him the first Trail Blazer to win the Slam Dunk Contest.

His winning dunk was a self-lob where he attempted to kiss the rim but didn’t quite reach his target. Still, it was an impressive athletic display as he showed off his incredible vertical.

With those events behind us, the NBA will resume its regular-season schedule on Wednesday. First, though, here are a few takeaways from All-Star Sunday night.

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