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Team LeBron favored over Team Durant in 2021 NBA All-Star Game

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

March 5th, 2021

Despite his initial complaint against an NBA All-Star Game being held during a global pandemic, LeBron James will participate in Sunday’s exhibition matchup and contend for his fourth straight All-Star Game victory.

A team captain for the fourth consecutive year, James and his 12-man squad are favored to defeat Kevin Durant’s group. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Mon, March 8 2021, 1:00 AM

Team Durant

Moneyline

+145

Spread

+4

Total

O 309

Team LeBron

Moneyline

-175

Spread

-4

Total

U 309

James and Giannis will pair up on Team LeBron

For the first time since the All-Star draft process was introduced in 2018, James and two-time defending Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo will play on the same team.

In 2018 — the first year leading vote-getters from each conference were designated All-Star team captains — Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry selected Giannis for his roster and fell to Team LeBron in a narrow 148-145 decision.

In 2019 and 2020, Giannis was named opposing team captain to LeBron. Team Giannis lost 178-164 in 2019, and 157-155 in last year's game, which introduced the Elam Ending.

The 2021 All-Star Game will again implement the Elam Ending, in which the game concludes once either team reaches a predetermined target score. The target score is set by taking the leading team’s cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points — a number chosen in honor of the late Kobe Bryant.

Last year, Team Giannis led Team LeBron 133-124 through the third quarter, thus making the target score 157. To win the game, Team LeBron had to score 33 points in the fourth quarter before Team Giannis scored 24.

Anthony Davis hit a walk-off free-throw to solidify the victory for Team LeBron. Kawhi Leonard claimed MVP of the game, after he tallied a game-high 30 points, plus seven rebounds, and four assists in 20 minutes of play.

2021 NBA All-Star rosters

During the All-Star Game draft on Thursday night, LeBron selected Giannis first overall. Both players will start for Team LeBron, alongside Curry, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić, and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić.

Reserves for Team LeBron include Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, L.A. Clippers guard Paul George, Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis, and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

Gobert was picked last by LeBron, even though his Jazz currently own the best record in the NBA, at 27-9.

Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell was suspiciously chosen last for Team Durant's roster, as well.

Durant picked his Nets teammate Kyrie Irving with the second overall draft selection. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will get the start for Team Durant.

Initially voted to the NBA All-Star Game as a reserve, Tatum will replace Durant in the starting lineup, since KD is sidelined for the game with a hamstring strain.

Team Durant reserves include Nets guard James Harden, Suns guard Devin Booker (replacement for an injured Anthony Davis), New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, Orlando Magic center Nikola Vučević, and Mitchell.

Jazz head coach Quin Synder will lead Team LeBron, while Sixers head coach Doc Rivers will head Team Durant.

How to watch the NBA All-Star Game

Because of the pandemic, the traditional three-day All-Star Weekend has been condensed to one night. The skills challenge and three-point contest will take place around 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, while the All-Star dunk contest will be held during halftime of the All-Star Game. 

No fans are permitted, as a precaution to COVID-19. 

TNT will provide live coverage of the NBA All-Star Game and all skill challenges Sunday night.

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