The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)
Tatum scores record 55 points in high-scoring All-Star Game
Jayson Tatum put on a record-setting show, and made Giannis Antetokounmpo look like a genius.
Tatum scored an AllStar Game-record 55 points on his way to winning MVP honors, and Team Giannis ended LeBron James’ hold on All-Star captain supremacy by beating Team LeBron 184-175 in the NBA’s annual showcase on Sunday night.
Tatum had 27 points in the third quarter, another All-Star Game record for any period. He was the first pick by Antetokounmpo in the starters’ portion of the All-Star draft, and in the end, that pick proved to be the right one.
And the MVP award Tatum was given is named for Kobe Bryant, one of his heroes.
“It means the world,” Tatum said. “You think of all the legends and great players that have played this game, and in all honesty, records are made to be broken. I’ll hold it for as long as I can, but I’m certain someone will come along in a couple years and try to break it.”
Tatum broke Anthony Davis’ All-Star record of 52 points. He was 22-of-31 from the floor, plus had 10 rebounds and six assists.
It was James’ first loss in six times as captain. Antetokounmpo improved to 1-2 in his All-Star captaincies, and became the first captain to hoist a new trophy presented to the winners of the AllStar Game.
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” Antetokounmpo said.
Later, with a more serious tone, Antetokounmpo said he had a reason for choosing Tatum.
“I knew he would take it serious,” he said “It was a no-brainer.”
Donovan Mitchell had 40 for Team Giannis, which got 26 points from Damian Lillard — including the game-winner to push his team past the target score.
Jaylen Brown scored 35 points and had 14 rebounds for Team LeBron, while Kyrie Irving had 32 points and 15 assists and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid finished with 32 points.
Brown and Tatum — Boston teammates — were reveling in a back-andforth duel during a stretch of the second half.
“It was a normal day for us,” Tatum said. “Just millions of people watching.”
Lillard, the winner of the 3-point contest on AllStar Saturday Night, made eight 3s — including a halfcourt pull-up in the third quarter.
“That was the worst basketball game I’ve ever seen,” Team LeBron coach Michael Malone said, clearly poking fun at the defense-optional event.
Winning coach Joe Mazzulla of Team Giannis said he had a very simple strategy.
“Stay out of the way, enjoy it, have fun, allow the guys to just be themselves,” Mazzulla said. “I think it’s important, especially in this league, that guys are just able to be themselves.”