LeBron James crowned MVP of 2018 NBA All-Star Game

By Alex Butler  |  Feb. 19, 2018 at 8:24 AM
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Feb. 19 (UPI) -- King LeBron James' royal court included two former MVPs, Kyrie Irving and a ton of highlights at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

Team LeBron defeated Team Stephen [Curry] 148-145 Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Golden State Warriors sharpshooter and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar were team captains -- tasked with picking players for their respective squads -- in the game's new format.

James won All-Star Game MVP honors, posting 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard paced Curry's squad with 21 points apiece.

Team Stephen earned a 42-31 advantage at the end of the first quarter, getting 11 points in the quarter from Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns. But team LeBron fought back in the second quarter, cutting Team Stephen's lead to 78-76. James poured in 10 points in the second quarter after scoring five points in the first frame.

Team LeBron still trailed 112-109 going into the fourth quarter, despite getting eight points in the third quarter from Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond.

Curry's crew would watch an 11-point fourth quarter lead evaporate as James' team stepped it up down the stretch.

Team LeBron trailed 145-144 with 40 seconds remaining when Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook took control of the offense. Westbrook sprinted through the paint with the ball on his hand. He dished a pass to Irving on the baseline after faking a feed to a trailing James.

Irving then found his former Cavaliers teammate for a contested layup, giving Team LeBron a 146-145 edge with 34 seconds remaining on the clock.

Westbrook increased the lead to three points with a layup with 10 seconds remaining. Team LeBron then used its swarming defense to keep Curry from hitting a game-tying 3-pointer. James and Curry's teammate Kevin Durant defended the two-time NBA MVP on that play. They denied Curry from getting a shot off, making him pass it off to DeRozan, who was off on his attempt at the buzzer.

"To Team Steph and to Team LeBron, thank you for the new format. Thanks for being captains. You guys put on an incredible show," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said after the game.

James has won the All-Star Game MVP three times during his decorated NBA tenure.

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