Monday, February 19, 2024

East 211, West 186: Jaylen Brown goes for 36 in record-setting All-Star Game

The NBA's 2024 All-Star Weekend was capped off with the East beating the West 211-186 Sunday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard had a team-high 39 points on 11-of-23 from deep to win All-Star Game MVP honors. Fresh off his runner-up finish in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Jaylen Brown netted 36 points on 15-of-23 from the field and 6-of-12 from behind the arc to go along with eight rebounds in the win.

Lillard, coming off being a back-to-back 3-point contest champion, is the first to win a competition at All-Star Saturday night and take home the MVP trophy at the All-Star Game since Michael Jordan accomplished that feat in 1988 -- when he won MVP following his Slam Dunk Contest win the night before. 

Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers hit his first five shot attempts, which included four straight 3-pointers to start the game. The two-time All-Star guard made his debut as a starter on his homecourt, as he clearly was gunning to win Most Valuable Player by dropping 32 points and the 3-ball that clinched the record-breaking 200-point mark for the East -- while connecting on 10-of-14 from long-range overall.
"We scored 200 points, we had three guys score over 36 points, so [MVP] could've gone either way," Jayson Tatum said in his postgame comments. "Dame put on a show and I was happy for him. It was cool that I could take a back seat this year and chill, and get to enjoy the show."
Tatum, who won All-Star MVP in last season's game with a record-setting 55 points, took it easy this year with 20 points on 8-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-9 from 3.

Karl Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves recorded a game-high 50 points (23-of-35) to lead the West in a losing effort, while Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points and six assists.

Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns added 18 points on 12 shot attempts and Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry chipped in 16 points, eight assists.

In another display of pure offense, the 73rd edition of the All-Star broke several scoring records, such as total points combined of 397 -- eclipsing the previous record of 374 set in 2017. The East made 42 3-pointers to break the mark of 35 set by Team LeBron back in 2019. Both sides combined for 193 points in the first half to break the any-half record of 191 set a year ago plus, the East also tied the record for the most points scored in a half with 104 at intermission.

The East scoring 211 total points surpassed the 2016 record set by the West of 196. This year, the West clinched the fourth-most points scored in All-Star history with 186, which was also the most ever in a loss.

The lack of defense played, particularly from the West All-Stars, allowed the East to also set a record for the most 3-pointers attempted with 97 -- making 42 of them for a 43.3% clip -- passing the mark of 90 set by Team LeBron in 2019.
"The shot-making from the East was incredible," West forward Kevin Durant said in his postgame presser. "Hard to play defense when somebody's shooting 30-, 40-footers over you."
Despite both teams combined knocking down a new record of 66 3s on 168 attempts -- breaking the previous mark of 62 and 167 in 2019 -- the West "only" took a total of 71 3s and made 25 for a 35.2% average on the night.

With the NBA's decision to bring back the old format of East versus West for the first time since 2017 to improve TV ratings after last season's record-low viewership of the All-Star Game that ended with a 185-174 score, it didn't quite seem to improve the level of play a year later.
"It was cool," Jaylen Brown told reporters. "Before, I think we were attempting to put a little more effort into it, but I'm not sure how successful that was. Hopefully, as the years go on, it gets back to being what the fans want to see…I guess guys are figuring out how to [compete] at the same time as having fun, being safe, being injury free. I guess more solutions need to be had to figure that out."
The Celtics (43-12) head to Chicago to face the Bulls (25-28) when the league resumes play Thursday night. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment