Monty’s team was buoyed by game MVP Stephen Curry’s 16 three-pointers — he also scored a two-pointer — and ultimately by LeBron James’ game winner in a close game that was within one point (161-160) and could have gone either way. James scored 24 points on the night, while Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30.
For Team Durant, coached by Erik Spoelstra, Devin Booker got a ton of run. He scored 20 points in 30 minutes — both second on his team to Joel Embiid’s 36 points in 31 minutes. Book was great in the first half (7 of 10 for 16 points) but missed most of his shots in the second half (2 of 8, 4 points). Still, Spoelstra played Book ahead of other All-Stars when the game was on the line, and Book had 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists in addition to his 20 points.
Fun Suns-related moments
- Monty Williams and his staff coached Team LeBron. He got that honor because the Suns have the best record in the West, and is only the fourth Suns coach to ever coach an All-Star game (John MacLeod, Paul Westphal, Mike D’Antoni).
- Chris Paul received the inaugural Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award for his significant contributions to the advancement of girls’ and women’s basketball, and advocacy for the WNBA. The WNBA and Vanessa Bryant presented Paul the award before the NBA All-Star 2022 game.
- Chris Paul was also recognized at halftime as one of the best 75 players in the 75-year history of the NBA during a really cool halftime show.
- Despite the injury that will have him out 6-8 weeks, at least, Paul talked coach Monty Williams into playing him 2 minutes. He actually took a shot (missed layup) and committed a foul trying to steal the ball... and that was that. Monty took him out.
- At one point during those two minutes, Book got the ball on the wing with Chris Paul defending him. Book immediately faked a couple half-hearted rip-throughs to Paul’s good left arm before launching a long three.
Devin Booker goes for the rip-through on Chris Paul. No dice! pic.twitter.com/Z9aYTWSjc9— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) February 21, 2022
- Kenny Smith, on the TBS feed, gave props to Chris Paul for originally suggesting the ‘Target Score’ format, which began in the 2020 game. The ‘Target Score’ puts both teams on notice to race to the finish in the fourth quarter... and give players a reason to actually play some defense for once.
- Team Durant’s head coach Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat) played Book the last six minutes of the third quarter and the whole fourth quarter when it became winning time. Book missed all three of his threes in the final quarter, but made a one-handed slam, grabbed three rebounds and logged an assist. It’s telling that one of the best head coaches in the game would play Book ahead of so many other All-Stars. Book closed the 4th with Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine, Trae Young and Khris Middleton. Spoelstra was going for threes around Joel in that race to 24 fourth quarter points.
Nice moment in interview room when Devin Booker came in to hug Monty Williams. “He didn’t have to do that,” said Williams, who told Booker he loved him. “…That’s why we are going to be all right (with Chris Paul injured).”— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) February 21, 2022
Okay, yet another final note