Watch LeBron James Recall With Exacting Detail Final Play Of All-Star Game
LeBron James has an incredible basketball mind.
He's able to recall moments of games with exacting detail, a talent he showed off at Thursday's Lakers practice when asked about the final play of the All-Star Game on Sunday.
First, James revealed that Frank Vogel, who was coaching Team LeBron, had initially intended for Clippers' superstar Kawhi Leonard to take the final shot with his team needing just one point to reach the final target score of 157.
"Coach drew a play in the timeout to get a pindown for Kawhi," James said. "We was doing the Toronto vs. Philly game-clincher play, where he hit the shot over [Joel] Embiid."
But in the chaos of what was arguably the most exciting All-Star Game in NBA history, things changed.
"They switched out on AD [Anthony Davis], and two guys went to AD, so Kawhi went directly to James [Harden]," James said. "James drove the baseline and threw it to CP [Chris Paul] in the corner. And then CP drove middle, kicked it back to me, and they were scrambled defensively.
"For a second, I was about to go one on one, which you saw in the picture that I posted with me and Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. But then when I saw that Kyle Lowry was on Anthony. Man, that sounds crazy, calling him Anthony. I’ve been hanging with your family too long, calling you Anthony. When I saw Kyle on AD, we made eye contact, and I just knew he was gonna duck in. And it was just a bang-bang play right there."
Davis was fouled on the play. He missed his first free throw but made the second to give Team LeBron a 157-155 win.
"Missed the first one on purpose," James said with a smile. "Draw the crowd in, and then make the second."
Both James and Davis said they loved the new All-Star Game format, in which the teams competed over charity money in each quarter. In the fourth quarter, the game clock was turned off and there was a target score of the leading team's cumulative score plus 24 points in honor of Kobe Bryant.
"I think it brings the competitiveness back to All-Star," Davis said. "I think it makes us play the first three quarters. A lot of times it’s, let’s get the crowd involved, let’s show off, do dunks, all of that, whatever. But now each quarter means something, so I think it brings the fun back to the game."
Team LeBron won $400,000 for their charity, Chicago Scholars, while Team Giannis won $100,000 for After School Matters.
Davis, who is from Chicago, said he loved playing for charity and having representatives from both charities cheer on the teams.
"[LeBron] actually asked me, who do you want to pick," Davis said. "It means a lot more to me. I think it was the first time we actually had them sitting right there next to us. When Giannis’ Team was doing things, they were screaming, “Giannis.” And when our team was going, they were screaming, “Team LeBron.” It gave us extra energy and motivation to win the quarter. I think that was pretty dope."
All in all, the All-Star Game was a great success.
That being said, James added that he was exhausted after the fourth quarter, which lasted over 15 minutes, three minutes longer than typical NBA quarters.
"Oh, I felt it after the game," James said. "You didn’t see me at the podium? I kicked my shoes off, I was dead tired. Yeah, I was ready to get a glass of wine after that one, that’s for sure."