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Jayson Tatum, Mac McClung Show Out in 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend

The NBA’s All-Star Weekend made its way to Utah for the first time since 1993, and there’s no doubt that it was a memorable one.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum set the All-Star Game record for points, putting up 55 in Team Giannis’ 184-175 win over Team LeBron on Sunday night (Feb. 19). The historic performance earned Tatum the All-Star Game MVP as he and Team Giannis ended LeBron James perfect 5-0 record as the game’s captain.

As the other captain, Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted Tatum with his first pick among the starters, pairing him with Donovan Mitchell, Ja Morant and Lauri Markkanen. Hilariously, Antetokounmpo originally chose Morant with a reserve pick despite the Memphis guard being a starter.

James, on the other hand, took Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving and also had a hilarious moment during his draft. With only him and Markkanen left to be picked, Jokic got up and walked over to Team LeBron without the team’s captain even saying his name. In a postgame presser, Jokic said that he thought he was the last pick and that was why he got up early.

Other stars besides Tatum shined in the game, as Mitchell put up 40 points and 10 assists while Jaylen Brown had 35 points to lead Team LeBron, just edging out Irving’s and Embiid’s 32 each. Both team captains played limited minutes, as Antetokounmpo was nursing a wrist injury sustained on Feb. 16 and James hit his hand on the rim going up for a block in the first half.

The third was where things started to ramp up, as Tatum, Mitchell and Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard combined to shoot 15-23 from beyond the arc in the quarter to break things open for Team Giannis. Tatum scored 27 of his 55 points in the third, another All-Star record, and went toe-to-toe with his Celtics teammate Brown in a thrilling one vs. one that saw the two trade baskets to end the frame.

This year, the All-Star Game received backlash from fans, players and coaches for its lack of competitiveness and defense. Mike Malone, head coach of the Nuggets and Team LeBron, did not mince words when talking about the midseason contest.

“That is the worst basketball game ever played… I don’t know if you can fix it,” he said. “No one got hurt, they put on a show for the fans, but that is a tough game to sit through I’m not going to lie.”

Brown shared the same sentiment, calling the game a “glorified layup line.”

On Saturday (Feb. 18), 76ers guard Mac McClung brought the house down during the dunk contest, scoring a perfect 50 three times on his way to winning the competition. The two-way player, who was just signed to a contract four days before the contest and is known for his viral high school mixtapes that showcased his elite athleticism, made every dunk on the first try and has already said he plans to come back to defend his title.

Lillard, who made the game-winning shot for Team Giannis in the All-Star Game, also took home hardware on Saturday by winning the three-point contest over the Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. Donning a custom jersey from his alma mater, Weber State, Lillard put up 26 points in the final round to win the competition just 30 miles from where he spent those college days.

With this win, his first in three attempts, Lillard plans to retire from the competition on top.

“I think all the best shooters in the history of our game, most of them have one of these,” Lillard said. “To be in this competition a few times and not have one, I just wanted to get it done at least one time. So I’m happy I got it, now I can retire from it.”

What did you think of this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend? Let us know by leaving a reaction at the bottom of this post or by tweeting us @celebsecrets.

Author

  • Mason Klemm

    Mason Klemm is a sports news and culture writer. He is a junior at Bradley University studying sports communication, so he obviously loves all things sports. When his eyes aren't glued to ESPN or Twitter, he enjoys watching TV and movies. Originally from Minneapolis, he is a self-proclaimed geography nerd and loves the Eagles and Twins.

Mason Klemm is a sports news and culture writer. He is a junior at Bradley University studying sports communication, so he obviously loves all things sports. When his eyes aren't glued to ESPN or Twitter, he enjoys watching TV and movies. Originally…

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