The 2021 All-Star Game was, like many other things nowadays, like no other. However, the NBA still brought us an all-star weekend. And for this addition, there was plenty of star power from the New York area.
Representing the Nets, Kyrie Irving and James Harden would both participate in the All-Star Game. Kevin Durant, who was the captain of his own team, was unable to participate due to a hamstring injury he suffered last month. nonetheless, he still picked both of his Nets teammates. Durant also selected Knicks forward Julius Randle, who has been at the forefront of a Knicks team that has shocked the NBA so far this season, coming into the all-star break over .500 for the first time since 2013.
Randle Kicks off the All Star Night
Julius Randle didn’t just participate in this year’s All-Star Game, he also participated in this year’s skills competition. He would take on Pacers forward Damontis Sabonis in the first round. While Randle was able to keep up with Sabonis for much of the round, a missed pass and a quick three from Sabonis put Randle away in the first round. Sabonis would go on to beat Nikola Vucevic in the finals to win the contest.
First Half All Star Action
The first half would see a quick start for team KD, Kyrie Irving would get the scoring started for team KD on a long three-pointer. Kyrie would also add two quick layups, scoring seven of team KD’s first nine points. Kyrie Irving would either score or assist on seven of the Net’s first nine baskets. Following a timeout, Both James Harden and Julius Randle would enter the game.
Harden would enter the game and immediately hit two threes and Julius Randle would add a dunk for himself. Despite the strong play by the New Yorkers, Team LeBron held a 37-31 lead at this point in the game. Team Lebron would win the first quarter 40-39.
Kyrie wasn’t just shooting, he was passing as well, adding assists on a number of baskets in the first half. Irving had six assists in the first half, including a beautiful lob to Zion Williamson, who had problems dunking the ball early on in the game. Irving looked to be an early candidate for All-Star Game MVP. Scoring 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Irving continued to show that he is the kind of guy to step up no matter what the circumstances are.
However, team KD would struggle in the rest of the second quarter, Steph Curry would heat up and hit threes from absolutely everywhere. Team Lebron would absolutely dominate the rest of the quarter by a score of 60-41. Putting the total score at 100-80 team Lebron. Team KD would need a major second half if they want to get back in this one.
First Half Statlines
Kyrie Irving: 15 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
James Harden: 9 points, 2 assists, 2 steals
Julius Randle: 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist
The Knicks didn’t just bring Randle to All-Star weekend, they also brought rookie Obi Toppin, who participated in this year’s dunk contest. Obi Toppin started out the dunk contest strong. Toppin bounced the ball up, put it between his legs in the air, and slammed it home. Obi would get three 10’s and two nines for a total of 48, which lead the field after the first dunks. Toppin would impress again in dunk number two. Toppin brought out both Julius Randle and his Father, Obi Toppin Sr, for his next dunk. Obi would jump over both his father and Randle, brought it back with one hand, and slammed it home. Randle would score a 46, enough to move on to the final round with Anfernee Simons. In his final dunk, Toppin did a between the legs dunk from a step in front of the free-throw line. However, Simons was able to beat him out 3-2 in the finals.
Second Half Showdown
Kyrie Irving game out hot for Team KD in the second half being involved in the first three baskets, assisting two threes, and going in for a layup of his own. Team KD would need to climb out of a hole, and Kyrie was doing his part to help make that happen. Kyrie would also slam home a long Bradley Beal pass with a two-handed slam. By the midway point of the third quarter, Irving would already have a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists with just 7:14 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
However, team Lebron would still take full control of the third quarter, winning their third consecutive quarter 46-45. And by the time the game reached its first to 24 stage, the lead was too much to overcome for team KD as they fell to team Lebron by a final score of 170-150. Although it was an overall losing effort for every single member of both the Knicks and Net, it was still an amazing night for the NBA and all its fans.
Now both teams will reset, and prepare to begin the second half of the season. The Nets will look to fight for the one seed, and with Blake Griffin joining the team, they will look to go far in the playoffs. The Knicks will look to make their first playoff appearance in seven years. Let the second half of the NBA season begin.
Kyrie Irving: 24 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists
James Harden: 21 Points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Julius Randle: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists