NBA All-Star Game LIVE: Ben Simmons soars in dunk-fest as Team Giannis fires back
The NBA All-Star Game is here, with Team LeBron taking on Team Giannis in the league's showcase event.
Scroll down to stay updated with all of the action.THE GAME
Monday February 17th
That was one hell of an opening quarter from Team LeBron, and especially Ben Simmons.
The Australian came on the floor and immediately took over the game, playing the passing lanes to give himself opportunities to get out on the break, while pushing the ball to create for others.
In the first quarter alone, Simmons had eight points, two rebounds, and two assists off the bench; all of his points coming on dunks, as Team LeBron finished the period with a 53-41 lead, earning $100,000 for the Chicago Scholars.2nd Quarter Update: Kawhi heats up, but Team Giannis levels it up
Kawhi Leonard continued to have the hot hand, bringing his scoring total up to 25 points by the half - hitting seven three-pointers in just 13 minutes played - but Team Giannis drew the game even in the period.
The second quarter's final score was 51-30 to Team Giannis, giving the Milwaukee Bucks star's team a 92-83 going into the half; the impressive period capped off by Trae Young hitting a half court shot.
Going into the main break, Antetokounmpo led his team with 20 points, while Young had eight points and seven rebounds.
Team LeBron was led by Leonard's 25, followed by Chris Paul's 11 points, while Simmons sat on 10 points at the half.
As expected, the evening opened with a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who perished along with nine others - including his daughter Gianna - in a helicopter accident at the end of January.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson made a speech to the crowd, asking everyone to hold hands during an 8-second silence.
Then, Jennifer Hudson performed Donnie Hathaway's 'For All We Know', as a reel of images played behind her.Stream the 2020 NBA All Star Weekend LIVE & On-Demand with ESPN on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
*DID DWYANE WADE RIG THE DUNK CONTEST FOR HIS TEAMMATE?
The answer to that question is: almost definitely.
By now, you know what happened at the Slam Dunk Contest.
Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. edged Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon in a memorable showdown that required two tiebreaker jams.
Jones and Gordon each got a perfect 50 on both of their dunks in the final. Then they got two more perfect scores on their first jam in the dunk-off in Chicago on Sunday.
Jones then took off from just inside the foul line and threw down a windmill jam with his left hand, drawing a 48 from the panel of five judges. After a short discussion with Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, Gordon brought out 7-foot-5 Boston Celtics rookie Tacko Fall and positioned him near the basket. He then took the ball from Fall's hands on his way to a thunderous dunk.
The United Center gasped as the courtside NBA stars celebrated. But Gordon was awarded a 47, giving the victory to Jones.
But how did that 47 score come about?
Well, according to some on the judging panel, the five adjudicators were trying to give Gordon's final dunk a 48, in order to tie the scores, but one person didn't follow the plan correctly.
"We thought it was going to be tied. We were like, 'This is a tie!'" Common, one of the judges, told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "But somebody didn't do it right. I don't know who it is."
When the final score of 47 was announced, we can see all of the judges look toward Wade, almost as though he didn't hold up his end of the plan. Wade was teammates with Jones Jr. when he was playing for the Heat, so that brings up the ultimate question: did he, in fact, rig the dunk contest for his friend and teammate?
The internet seems to think so.
Wade defended himself when speaking with Complex Sports.
"It took nine rounds," Wade said.
"I mean, it wasn't biased. I wasn't the only one who gave him a 9, let's talk about that. There was three people that gave a nine. But people are going to talk.
"Aaron Gordon is not going to lose any sleep about not winning a dunk contest. He's one of our better NBA players and one of the young stars in this league. But it was entertainment, and at the end of the day, as judges, we had to come up with a winner. It was unfortunate, but we had to."
That's... not really a denial.
*WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALL-STAR GAME
Where: Chicago, IL.
When: The event begins at 12pm (AEDT).
The is the highlight game of the weekend, and let's see if the rule changes can spice things up a bit.
You can read about those here, and the consensus is that we will see a relatively competitive affair.
Team LeBron will take on Team Giannis, and the roster that looks more appealing is the one selected by the Los Angeles Lakers star. It's just better in nearly every way.
Note: the first five players on each roster are the starters, and Devin Booker was an injury replacement for Lillard (groin).Team LeBron
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Russell Westbrook, Houston RocketsTeam Giannis
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Donovan Mitchell, Utah JazzLIVE UPDATES (if you can't see the blog; click here!)
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It's gameday! The NBA All-Star Game is here, with Team LeBron taking on Team Giannis in the league's showcase event. Scroll down to stay updated with all of the action. SIMMONS RUNS RIOT Monday February 17th