Giannis Antetokounmpo did just that.
His 16-for-16, including a 3-for-3 on three-pointers, saw him finish with a game-high 35 points – and the Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player (MVP) award – as Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 170-150 in the annual exhibition game.
But this was an All-Star game like no other. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there was barely a crowd, no front-row celebrities, to catch the glimpse of the magic unfold at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.
Yet in the end, it was the same. A LeBron James team won – extending his record to 4-0 as an All-Star captain.
“I always try to pick the right team, and I’ve been lucky enough for four years to pick the right team,” James said.
“Guys go out and compete and play to win. I’ve been on the winning side of all four.”
Antetokounmpo’s 100% record saw him fly to the top of the record standings, attaining the best shooting performance in NBA All-Star history.
Two of the Milwaukee Bucks star’s three-pointers were piled up as he outperformed Blake Griffin’s 2014 record of 82.6% shooting on at least 15 attempts.
I’m just having fun,” Antetokounmpo said. “Sometimes when you’re having fun and not thinking about the outcome, you just let your instincts take over.”
“My team played great, and I was able to just win it and to have the trophy with the name of Kobe Bryant, it’s amazing, and I know he would be happy. Yeah, I know he’d be happy.”
All of his shots came in the first three quarters, after which he decided to no longer push it – particularly as a team-mate was taking over.
“I wasn’t scared to shoot more. I wanted to shoot more shots, but Dame [Damian Lillard] was on the blaze,” he said. “I told Dame we all got to get out of his way, and that’s what we did.”
The Portland Trail Blazers’ Lillard finished on 32 points with his and Stephen Curry’s long-distance shooting catching the eye.
The Team LeBron duo posted identical 8-for-16 shooting from behind the arc, mixing for 16 three-pointers including back-to-back efforts from half-court.
“These two guys, the distance from which they can shoot the three, it’s unbelievable,” Antetokounmpo said.
“I told my son: I’m going to send him to [Lillard’s] summer camp so he can shoot like Dame. He’s going to have the skills; he’s going to be tall like me. I want him to shoot Dame way.”
Team LeBron took command of the game in the second quarter with a 27-8 flurry inside the last four minutes, taking a 100-80 lead into half-time.
They extended that to 146-125 by the end of the third quarter, with Team Durant only coming within 15 points of their opponents in the final period.