In another All-Star Game that was overtly offensive to fans of defense the Western Conference All-Stars came away with the win after an insanely high-scoring affair ended 192-182.
In Brad Stevens first appearance at All-Star Weekend and Isaiah Thomas’ second season as an All-Star, both Celtics received a big intro courtesy of the Roots.
Outside of the official introductions Brad Stevens found himself being introduced to a cavalcade of high-caliber players. Brad was like a fox in the henhouse as IT led the Boston coach on a recruitment tour of the NBA’s elite and allegedly more than a few players had plenty of positive things to say about Coach Stevens’ manner and approach to the game.
While the players showed plenty of respect for Stevens’ style nothing and no one was going to hold back this year’s All-Stars from showcasing their skills on the court, particularly their abilities on the offensive end.
As the first quarter began it seemed like we might get a somewhat competitive basketball game as each of the teams felt each other out. However this quickly devolved as players stepped aside on defense to allow dunk after dunk after dunk.
That’s right, after a lackluster showing for the dunk contest it turns out the competition was simply moved to Sunday night as nearly everyone on each of the teams got in a slam or two.
Even the Little Guy got some air as he attempted a dunk early in the first only to be forced to grab his own rebound and then, obviously realizing that three is greater than two, showed the presence of mind to step behind the three-point line for the long-range swish.
Former teammates and current rivals Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were the focus of much of the crowd’s attention and showed that they could co-exist peacefully early on when they connected—or reconnected—on this sweet alley-oop.
Isaiah on the other hand, had no problem going head-to-head with Oklahoma’s sole remaining star and the NBA’s resident triple-double machine.
By the end of the first the scores were at 53-48 beating the record for highest combined point total in a single quarter that was set at last year’s All-Star Game. IT connected early in the second bringing his point total to 11 and he also provided some nice dimes for his fellow All-Stars.
As the first half pressed on so too did the offensive output. Half-court shots, mega-dunks and constant long-range bombs all became par for the course as both teams continued to lay down on defense. Steph Curry even helpfully providing this perfect representation of the level of defense at your average All-Star game with this move where he tried to avoid being the posterised by the high-flying young Buck, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Steph did not want any part of that either... pic.twitter.com/u0E3LeVRHU— Behind the Buck Pass (@BehindTheBucks) February 20, 2017
The scores were pretty close as the first half finished up with the West leading with 97 to the East’s 92 at the half (yes, that’s at the half). But if you were expecting the East to attempt to get stops and try and get back into the game or any such nonsense then you’ve obviously never watch an All-Star Game before.
The third quarter saw more of the same as both teams piled up points and continued to display their scoring skills. Isaiah sunk a three at the end of the third to bring his point total to 16 but despite the Little Guy making an impact this game was really about the big guys taking it to the rim.
Westbrook and Giannis both displayed a competitive drive and sunk their fair share of shots (Westbrook finished with 41, just shy of the ASG scoring record), but it was hometown hero Anthony Davis that kept the crowd on their feet and dominated most of the game. With 52 points at the final buzzer Davis broke the all-time All-Star Game scoring record set by Wilt Chamberlain who scored 42 way back in 1962 . The Brow also won the award for All-Star Game MVP, which was nice to see after a few seasons of heartache for the young player.
Isaiah finished the game with 20 points 3 assists and 1 rebound and while he didn’t see much action in the fourth quarter where he often shines, Isaiah did manage to keep his streak of scoring 20 or more points per game alive (bringing his total to 42 consecutive games, including the ASG).
Stevens was his characteristically humble and magnanimous self, heaping praise on the players and saying “Just being around these guys is a privilege.”
"The best part about this weekend is being around all of the high-achievers," Brad Stevens says of #NBAAllStar.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 20, 2017
Of course All-Star Weekend is just as much about what happens behind the scenes as it is about what happens on the court. With a blockbuster trade sending DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans this year’s All-Star break has already provided a major development in the league.
Meanwhile Celtics fans can look forward to the trade deadline knowing that Stevens was able to rub shoulders with the NBA’s elite and subtly recruit through his consummate professionalism and admirable abilities.