LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Somebody forgot to tell Stephen Curry that the three-point contest was Saturday as the Golden State Warriors superstar put on a shooting clinic to lead Team LeBron to victory in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
LeBron James sank the game-winning basket as his side edged Team Durant, 163-160, giving James his fifth straight all-star win as team captain.
But Curry was the brightest shooting star, winning the MVP award with a 50-point performance that included a record 16 threes in front of a crowd of 19,400 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
He finished just two shy of Anthony Davis’ single-game scoring record of 52 points but shattered Paul George’s previous record of nine threes in 2016.
“I tried, I tried,” said Curry of flirting with the single-game scoring record which is held by Los Angeles Lakers’ Davis, who scored 52 points in 2017.
“When I get going the energy picks up. It is pretty special being back in Ohio.
“Obviously this trophy has very special meaning. I am very humbled, very blessed and I appreciate it.”
The All-Star Game was preceded by the three-point shooting contest on Saturday, a competition Curry won in 2021 in Chicago. Karl-Anthony Towns was this year’s winner as Curry did not enter.
Ohio-born local hero James nailed the winning shot with a fadeaway jumper to elevate Team LeBron to the target score of 163.
The 37-year-old James was playing in his 18th all-star game, which ties him with the late Kobe Bryant and moves him to one shy of the record held by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
James was one of two captains, the other being Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who did not attend the game due to the death earlier Sunday of his grandmother.
Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns coached Team LeBron while Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat coached Team Durant.
Memphis Grizzlies rising star Ja Morant scored six points and was one of seven players making their all-star debut.
The other first-time all-stars were the Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball, the Cleveland Cavaliers duo of Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland, the Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins, the San Antonio Spurs’ Dejounte Murray and the Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet.
During halftime, the league honored the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team with players from every decade of the league’s existence in attendance for the diamond anniversary.
The 76 players who comprise the anniversary team — including six 2022 all-stars — have combined for 736 all-star selections.
On Friday, Cade Cunningham was named most valuable player of the Rising Stars game as Team Barry defeated Team Isaiah 25-20.
Saturday’s events included the three-point shooting contest, the slam dunk competition and skills challenge.
This is the third All-Star Game played in Cleveland, along with 1981 and 1997.