Jayson Tatum never anticipated becoming the record-holder for most points scored in the NBA All-Star Game.
But the Boston Celtics star noticed he was hotter than lava during his stellar third quarter and he wasn’t about to stop shooting.
Tatum finished the contest with 55 points, knocked down 10 three-pointers, and earned MVP honors while leading Team Giannis to a 184-175 victory over Team LeBron in the annual showcase game in Salt Lake City on Sunday, February 19 (Monday, February 20, Manila time).
Tatum surpassed the 52 points set by Anthony Davis in 2017. He also set a record for points in a quarter when he scored 27 in the third.
“It means the world,” Tatum said of breaking Davis’ mark. “You think of all the legends and great players that have played this game. In all honesty, records are made to be broken. I’ll hold it as long as I can but I’m certain somebody will come along in a couple years and try to break it.”
Tatum was 22-of-31 shooting and also contributed 10 rebounds and 6 assists. His 10 treys are second in All-Star history behind the 16 that Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors made in last season’s game.
Tatum also received stiff competition from Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Utah Jazz star was pumped up to play in his former home arena and made eight three-pointers while delivering 40 points and 10 assists for Team Giannis.
But Tatum got so hot that Mitchell could only watch in amazement.
“We were talking about, like ‘Let’s go get it,” Mitchell said of the scoring mark and MVP honors. “At the end of the day, he caught fire. … It is one of those things you’ve really got to appreciate.”
Tatum split two free throws to get point No. 53 and make it 177-162. Davis played for the New Orleans Pelicans when he set the record.
Tatum became the eighth different player in Celtics history to win All-Star MVP honors but the first since Larry Bird in 1982. The list includes two-time winner Bob Cousy (1954, 1957) and Bill Russell (1963).
Despite all his heroics, it wasn’t Tatum who knocked down the final shot.
It was Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers who drained the decisive three-pointer, enabling Team Giannis to surpass the target score of 182. Lillard also made eight three-pointers while scoring 26 points.
Jaylen Brown of the Celtics led Team LeBron with 35 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks had 32 points and 15 assists and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers also scored 32 points for Team LeBron. – Rappler.com
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