NBA Analyst: "I've Never Seen Guys Play Defense Like That"

Team LeBron beat Team Giannis in the All-Star Game on Sunday, and the new format was a hit

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
February 17, 2020 - 8:32 am
LeBron James Kawhi Leonard Chris Paul NBA All sTAR game

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Team LeBron beat Team Giannis, 157-155, in the 69th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, as Kobe Bryant and Davis Stern were honored throughout the weekend.

Bryant’s legacy, in fact, had a role in the final score, as the new format involved playing to a target score in the fourth quarter. The target score was determined by adding 24 points – with 24 representing Bryant’s jersey number – to the leading team’s cumulative score through three quarters.

“I think it accomplished what they had hoped for – the closest All-Star Game finish since 2010,” NBA play-by-play voice Marc Kestecher said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You needed to have a game that was within 15 points after three quarters; we got nine. Anyone who watches the NBA knows if it’s in single digits, it could evaporate in a hurry. So they got the close game they wanted. 

The fourth quarter, which was untimed and commercial-free, featured fouls, charges, coach’s challenges, and defense. In other words, things typically absent from All-Star festivities. 

Anthony Davis won the game on a free throw.

“I’ve never seen guys play defense like that for that long,” Kestecher said. “You’ve got not only the best players in the league, but you’ve got some of the best defenders in the league. They didn’t even sub out for the last it felt like 25 minutes or so. So it accomplished everything I think they had hoped for and more.”

Kawhi Leonard was the inaugural recipient of the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. He hit eight three-pointers and scored a game-high 30 points in leading Team LeBron to victory.

Click below to listen to Kestecher’s interview in its entirety.