For Cleveland’s NBA All-Star Game, LeBron picks a powerhouse

Feb 18, 2022, 11:44 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2022, 1:47 pm

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, and Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic workout du...

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, and Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic workout during a practice session for the NBA All-Star basketball game in Cleveland, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Stephen Curry couldn’t do it. Giannis Antetokounmpo has failed at it twice. Now Kevin Durant gets his second shot.

None have been able to draft a team to beat one picked by LeBron James in the NBA All-Star Game. He is 4-0 in the format and might have assembled his most stacked team yet for the game Sunday night in his home state.

Curry, Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic will start along with James, putting four former NBA MVPs in one starting unit. DeMar DeRozan, who might be having his finest season yet in his first year in Chicago, rounds out the starting five.

It’s hard to compete with that, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

“Well, we’re all All-Stars here,” Team Durant’s Draymond Green said. “So I think we stack up just fine and I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes, but I think we’ll be just fine.”

The NBA did away with the traditional East vs. West format after the 2017 All-Star Game, when the West’s 192-182 victory was so devoid of effort that the players and league realized something had to be done to raise the stakes. So the leading vote-getter in each conference becomes the captain to choose his side and the teams play to win money for charity.

Team LeBron beat Team Stephen in 2018 and scored victories over Team Giannis in 2019 and 2020. Last year’s victory in Atlanta was over Team Durant, the same matchup as this season.

James also drafted Luka Doncic and Chris Paul. Miami and Team Durant coach Erik Spoelstra hoped he would be able to coach James and Jimmy Butler, his former and current Heat stars. Instead, he’ll be going against both.

“So we’re going to throw the kitchen sink at them,” Spoelstra quipped. “Box-and-1, triangle-and-2, full-court press and some things that I probably can’t even think of right now.”

Durant is still out with sprained knee ligament, replaced in his starting lineup by Boston’s Jayson Tatum. NBA scoring leader Joel Embiid, Atlanta’s Trae Young and first-time All-Stars Ja Morant of Memphis and Andrew Wiggins of Golden State are the other starters.

James will be making his 18th consecutive All-Star Game start, extending his own record. He said he tries not to overdo it with how much and how hard he plays in the exhibition, but also wants to give fans a good show.

“I’ve been a part of quite a few of these games, so definitely want to be smart about my minutes and things that I play,” James said. “It’s the only time and only game throughout the season where I’m OK talking about my minutes.”

Some other things to know about Sunday’s All-Star Game:


Green joins former Golden State teammate Durant on the sideline because of his back injury. James Harden is out for Team LeBron because of a hamstring injury, while Utah’s Donovan Mitchell missed practice Saturday because of an illness not related to COVID-19.

Chris Paul isn’t sure if he can go for Team LeBron, with his right hand wrapped in a cast after he was hurt Wednesday in Phoenix’s victory over Houston.

“I’m going to see, even if it’s just to get out there and maybe throw a couple assists,” said Paul, the All-Star Game’s career leader in that category. “As long as I pass it to somebody, somebody will make it.”


The NBA will honor members of its 75th anniversary team during a halftime ceremony. The league celebrated its 50th anniversary team when Cleveland last hosted the game in 1997.


Antetokounmpo has blown past Durant and James as the All-Star Game’s leader in scoring average. He is at 28.8 points per game in his five appearances after scoring 35 points on 16-for-16 shooting while winning MVP honors in 2021.


Besides Morant and Wiggins, the All-Star Game will feature five other first-timers: Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland of Cleveland, LaMelo Ball of Charlotte, Fred VanVleet of Toronto and Dejounte Murray of San Antonio. On other end, Durant and Paul were selected for a 12th time, a mixture that had Curry saying the competition in the league might be better than ever.

“It’s probably at an all-time high in terms of some of the young guys who are stepping into All-Star-level basketball,” the two-time MVP said. “You’ve got a lot of first-timers here who are so deserving of the honor. They’ve made huge leaps. But then you’ve also got like myself, Bron, CP, guys that have been around for a long time that are trying to still do it.”


The winner of the MVP award receives the Kobe Bryant Trophy, which was named in the longtime Laker star’s honor after he died just before the 2020 All-Star Game. A new trophy debuts this year with an eight-sided base covered by 18 stars, representing Bryant’s total of All-Star selections. He was the MVP a record-tying four times.


More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

For Cleveland’s NBA All-Star Game, LeBron picks a powerhouse