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Team LeBron wins the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago


Just as everyone had hoped, the 48 minutes of the midseason showcase was all about No. 24. But the last 12 minutes were a true showcase to honor a late NBA legend.

In tribute to Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January, the NBA changed up their ending to the All-Star Game at the United Center on Sunday. The combined total of the team leading at the end of three quarters would help to set the winning amount of points for the game, with 24 added to that total in honor of the late Lakers’ legend.

Over the course of that time, both teams embodied the spirit of Bryant with a competitive chase to reach that mark first.

Playing with the intensity normally seen for a regular game and not an All-Star contest, the team led by LeBron James and the other by Giannis Antetokounmpo put on an entertaining session of basketball as each approached 157 points. The competitive, untimed quarter also brought up the sellout crowd’s enthusiasm at the United Center as teams got close to the number.

In the end it was a free throw that would do it, and it was a Laker that would bring an end to an All-Star Game that was all about a late legend of that team.

Chicago native Anthony Davis sank the winning free throw to get Team LeBron a 127-125 win over Team Giannis in the first midseason classic played in the Windy City since February of 1988. It completed a great comeback led by the Lakers’ star after the squad led by the Bucks’ reigning MVP entered the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead. Davis would tie the game for the first time in the fourth quarter then gave them the lead on an ally oop slam that got Team LeBron to the 152 point mark.

James’ dunk would get the score to 156, and after Joel Embiid’s two free throws got the Team Giannis within a point, Davis got his chance from the free throw line. The center created a little drama by missing the first free throw, but he knocked down the second, triggering a celebration at midcourt as he helped to honor a legend of his franchise.

Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers was named the MVP of the contest, which was named after Bryant on Saturday, as he scored a game-high 30 points with seven rebounds and four assists. James and Chris Paul of the Thunder had 23 on the evening while Davis had 20 points in his hometown.

Singer and Chicago native Jennifer Hudson delivered a stirring tribute in the Bryant as well, and after that, the game took on a different feel thanks to the changes made by the league a few weeks back.

Scores were reset after every quarter, with the winning team earning $100,000 for their designated charity. With Team LeBron winning the first quarter 53-41, the Chicago Scholars program got the money.

When Team Giannis won the second quarter 51-30, the After School Matters program of Chicago received the $100,000 donation.

Since the teams tied at 41 to end the third quarter, the winning team’s charity would receive $200,000, which went to Chicago Scholars since it was won by Team LeBron in a gritty fourth quarter comeback effort that Kobe would have appreciated.

Certainly, those involved in the contest at the United Center on Sunday were grateful for what he gave to the game, and showed it over the course of an entire All-Star showcase.

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