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NBA All-Star Game: Three takeaways from Team LeBron’s thrilling win

Team LeBron rallied back from an 11-point first-quarter deficit to beat Team Stephen 148-145 in Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game.

LeBron James led his team with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists en route to his third All-Star Game MVP. James selected his team in the NBA’s new pick-em format.

1. The new pick-em format added suspense �� The NBA All-Star Game is usually a lackluster affair of no defense and crazy shots. While Sunday’s game started off that way, it quickly turned into an actual game as both captains appeared determined to win bragging rights (and the $100,000 bonus).

3. Victor Oladipo is the league’s most underrated player �� When the Pacers traded Paul George to the Thunder, gaining Oladipo in return, many thought they had made a mistake. But Oladipo (averaging 24.4 points per game) has exceeded even the Pacers’ wildest expectations. Not only has Oladipo been scoring, he’s looked like a leader, helping the Pacers (33-25) win seven of their last nine games.

Whether Oladipo is donning a Black Panther mask and creating shockwaves at the dunk contest, or high-flying at the All-Star Game, he’s looked like one of the elite players the NBA has to offer. Oladipo finished Sunday’s game with seven points, three assists and three steals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo also recorded a triple-double with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. It was Antetokounmpo’s ninth career triple-double, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most in Bucks history.

Thursday’s nightcap saw the Wolves rally in the fourth quarter for their 36th win of the season, fifth-most in league at the All-Star break. Minnesota outscored the Lakers 35-20 in the final period thanks in part to Jamal Crawford’s seven points in just over two minutes to begin the quarter.

With Karl-Anthony Towns (2 of 9) and Jimmy Butler (7 of 20) struggling from the floor, veteran big man Taj Gibson stepped up with a season-high 28 points to pace the Timberwolves.

Jokic starred for the Nuggets but he got plenty of backcourt help from Jamal Murray and Gary Harris who combined for 54 points. Like Jokic (11 of 14), Murray (9 of 12) missed just three field goals on the night.

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