The NBA’s tweaks to the All-Star Game format resulted in the most intense fourth quarter we’ve seen in one of these exhibition games at least this century. Giannis blocked LeBron — twice! Kyle Lowry successfully took a charge — twice! We had not one, not two, but three replay reviews in the final moments of the game. All of it was incredible until the game anticlimactically ended on an Anthony Davis free throw. One more tweak and the Elam Ending will be perfect. Final: Team LeBron: 157, Team Giannis: 155.
Of course, Philadelphia fans had rooting interests on top of watching the best players in the world play the most competitive game of pick-up in our lifetime. Ben Simmons suited up for Team LeBron and Joel Embiid started for Team Giannis, and there were a couple fun moments between the Sixers duo. The pair squared off for the opening tip to start the second quarter, with Ben winning, and Ben stole a pass from Joel in the fourth quarter. Each guy had a handful of standout moments throughout the night; let’s look back at some of them.
Ben Simmons: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers
Simmons and Jayson Tatum took the floor with the second unit for Team LeBron and started leading an alley-oop parade, giving Sixers fans another painful twist in the heart for what could have transpired following the 2017 draft. Ben went 8-of-9 from the field, and I remember one sweet, twisting lay-in, but his other seven makes all may have been showtime dunks.
Ben’s timing on oops was darn near flawless:
He's tryin' to put on a show tonight. pic.twitter.com/waKbYDJtQA— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 17, 2020
And he even turned missed shots off the rim into self-oops:
Of course, the league leader in steals also had to get into the act on the defensive end:
Joel Embiid: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers
Team Giannis’ offense was not exactly firing on all cylinders once the defensive intensity ramped up in the fourth quarter. Often, they resorted to Joel Embiid post-ups, like Nick Nurse had just ripped a page out of Brett Brown’s playbook. Sometimes the result was ugly, and sometimes it was ugly, but effective, with trips to the free throw line for Joel (who shot 6-of-8 from the charity stripe on the game). But on one occasion, the result was simply sublime:
Earlier in the game, Joel showed even big men can get fancy with their dunks, pulling out this sweet windmill:
In the end, there was only one thing missing from what was an incredibly fun night:
Oh, well. There’s always next year.
Who is the Sixers’ Bell Ringer from the 2020 NBA All-Star game?
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Note; Tonight’s Bell Ringer selection is purely for fun and does not contribute to our yearlong standings.