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NBA Star Game in 2021: Stephen Curry Provides Typical Highlights, Joy in Atlanta

No one had more fun than Stephen Curry in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Curry didn’t hit the winning shot in Atlanta on Sunday – it was Damian Lillard – but before the shot even went up, he waved goodbye and headed for the bench. He also didn’t win an MVP – it was Giannis Antetokounmpo – but he celebrates Giannis’ buckets as if they were his. Curry missed the All-Star weekend last year because of a broken arm, and in a window that felt very different than usual, it was boring to see him back where he belongs, bringing with him his special joy.

Curry made his mark even before the start of the game, showing a show in the 3-point race and even had the courtesy to leave the outcome in doubt until his last shot of the second round. This was his second victory in the race and his first attempt with the MTN Dew Zone, the place six feet behind the 3-point line, from where players must make two shots in each round. Watching him hit three of his four from there, the whole thing felt a little unfair. Trophy in hand, he dedicated the victory to his Splash Brother. Clay Thompson was unable to compete in Chicago last year, recovering from a torn ACL, and certainly expected to return to this stage with Curry before rupturing his Achilles tendon in November.

Playing for the LeBron team in the main event, early on the curry gave a game that many stars vocally opposed to the much-needed energy. After Zion Williamson missed a dunk, Curry threw his left hand without looking, during a quick break, to set Nikola Jokic up for a dive.

Left alone in the corner, he turned after firing his shot and listened to the reaction to confirm that he was as clean as he felt.

The accents kept coming. He hit logo 3 by LeBron James, then another over Zack LaVine after losing his dribble. He threw a two-handed dive from Chris Paul and hooked on the edge for an effect, after which the two future HOFers reversed roles and did it again. After a half-step swing, Curry came in at halftime with 22 points in an 8-for-1

1 shot. He finished 10-for-19 for 28 points in 22 minutes.

Unlike the Game of Stars in 2020, the defense was terrible for most of the game and the final minutes were not particularly dramatic, as Team Durant’s 21-point deficit after three quarters blunted the impact of Elam Ending. While the half-time race had its moments, even the best dives weren’t quite what they could be – champion Anferni Simons didn’t in fact he kissed the rim, runner-up Obi Topin was not even sophisticated for his repulsion. But at least we had to see the greatest shooter of all time burn the ground in a 3-point race, play LeBron for the first time, and yell at Lillard from the bench for not boxing. Imperfect, as it might have been tonight at a basketball party, Curry made the most of it.

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