NBA All-Star winners and losers: Team LeBron triumphs under new game format; Aaron Gordon robbed at Dunk Contest

first_imgCHICAGO — The 2020 NBA All-Star break had a little bit of everything: touching tributes, exciting games and a controversial ending.Each evening was undoubtedly entertaining for the United Center crowds, and the atmosphere was consistently electric in the “Windy City.” However, a few people definitely didn’t leave the league’s annual showcase with All-Star smiles on their faces. Giannis BLOCKS LeBron 😤 #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/l9nsbMOoRi— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 17, 2020Chaka KhanShe … did not receive rave reviews for this rendition of the national anthem. The Slam Dunk Contest judges gave it a 48 anyway to annoy Gordon. Before NBA teams return to normal regular season schedules, let’s break down the biggest winners and losers from All-Star weekend.MORE: Best highlights from 2020 All-Star GameNBA All-Star weekend winnersNew All-Star Game formatThere was some initial pushback — Math is for nerds! — but the new format worked.Team LeBron and Team Giannis dialed up the intensity and genuinely cared about the outcome of the game. Defense actually mattered. Kyle Lowry took MULTIPLE charges. This felt different.Anthony Davis’ game-winning free throw was somewhat anticlimactic, but it didn’t completely take away from the enjoyment. The NBA should keep these rules in place for 2021 and beyond.🙌 @AntDavis23 misses the first but MAKES the 2nd free-throw to win the 2020 #NBAAllStar game for #TeamLeBron and earn $300,000 more for @ChicagoScholars! pic.twitter.com/b3vYtfK3EJ— NBA (@NBA) February 17, 2020″I didn’t know what to expect because it was a new format, new year. None of us knew what to expect,” LeBron James said. “But throughout the whole fourth quarter and at the end of the game, everybody was like, ‘That was pretty damn fun.'”Kawhi LeonardSpeaking of fun, the “Fun Guy” wins again.Leonard added more hardware to his trophy case with the first-ever Kobe Bryant MVP award. He scored a game-high 30 points and drained eight 3-pointers for Team LeBron.Kawhi Leonard scores 30 PTS and hits 8 triples to lead #TeamLeBron to victory in the 2020 #NBAAllStar Game and win the Kia NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award! #KiaAllStarMVP pic.twitter.com/HNQtL17fHH— NBA (@NBA) February 17, 2020So Leonard owns two NBA Finals MVPs and an All-Star Game MVP. Any thoughts about winning the only MVP award left?”My mindset is always just to try to make my team the best team at the end of the season, and if I’m fortunate enough to win a regular season MVP, then I’ll be happy with it,” Leonard said. “I always just want to win championships. I’m not really concerned with the personal goal. So I always just want to play on an MVP level so my team can win.”Yep, sounds about right.LeBron James”General manager LeBron” jokes aside, the guy sure knows how to pick an All-Star team.James is now 3-0 as an All-Star captain with one win over Stephen Curry and two victories over Giannis Antetokounmpo. He also moved into second place on the all-time list of All-Star Game starts with 16, jumping ahead of Kobe Bryant, the late legend who meant so much to James.“His presence was definitely felt here in Chicago.”LeBron reflects on honoring Kobe during #NBAAllStar Weekend. pic.twitter.com/O7zbX3MC4X— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 17, 2020Chris PaulYo, we got a CP3 alley-oop slam? In this economy?!Russ lobs it to CP3.#NBAAllStar #PhantomCam pic.twitter.com/b5GrGImgY3— NBA (@NBA) February 17, 2020″I ain’t Russ (Westbrook),” Paul said. “It’s got to be the perfect throw, everything. So it was cool.”Very cool, indeed.Basketball fansAgain, every night we saw something special.The Trae Young-Luka Doncic viral moment in the Rising Stars Challenge, Buddy Hield’s 3-point Contest walkoff, the back-and-forth between Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. in the Slam Dunk Contest, the thrilling All-Star fourth quarter, Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Bryant — Chicago offered a terrific all-around experience.NBA All-Star weekend losersAaron GordonOK, it wasn’t great for everyone.The Magic forward found himself in second place once again at the end of the Slam Dunk Contest despite scoring 297 out of a possible 300 points and throwing down the best dunk of the night.Off the side of the backboard. 360. Windmill. AG. 🌀🌪️ pic.twitter.com/FWcUyFIBJR— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2020After losing to Jones on Saturday and Zach LaVine in 2016, Gordon says he won’t be returning to the contest.”No, it’s a wrap, bro. It’s a wrap,” Gordon said. “I feel like I should have two trophies, you know what I mean? It’s over for that. My next goal is going to be trying to win the 3-point Contest.”This just means Gordon is somehow going to be the runner-up in the 3-point Contest, too.Slam Dunk Contest judgesWe can’t talk about Gordon without mentioning the judging controversy.Gordon had earned only 50s prior to his final dunk, a two-handed rim-rocker over 7-5 Celtics center Tacko Fall. Apparently that slam was only worth 47. (The individual scores from each judge on Gordon’s last dunk: Dwyane Wade, 9; Common, 10; Candace Parker, 10; Chadwick Boseman, 9; Scottie Pippen, 9.)🚨 AARON GORDON DUNKS OVER TACKO FALL! 🚨#StateFarmSaturday on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/cMmRjnnTzN— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2020″Jumping over somebody 7-5 and dunking is no easy feat,” Gordon said. “What did I get, like a 47? Come on, man. What are we doing?”Players around the league expressed shock and anger on Twitter, saying Gordon got “robbed” after another fantastic performance. Some of the judges didn’t even understand what happened.”We thought it was going to be tied. We were like, ‘This is a tie!'” Common told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “But somebody didn’t do it right. I don’t know who it is.”Hey Adam Silver, time to investigate. Start with the Black Panther.Giannis AntetokounmpoLook, Antetokounmpo is likely going to win another MVP award. The Bucks are destroying the rest of the NBA. He had 25 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the All-Star Game.He has lost to James in back-to-back years, though, so he must fall into this category. Still, give him credit for the best defensive play of the night. This was impressive.last_img

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