East crushes West at NBA All-Star 2024. GETTY IMAGES

The return to the classic format produced a no-holds-barred spectacle. The East won 211-186, breaking the scoring and three-point records by 42 points. LeBron James made his twentieth All-Star appearance. Towns scored 50 points and Lillard won the MVP award.

The NBA wanted to change the format and return to the classic setup at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the site of the 73rd edition of the All-Star Game, which had not been held in the city since 1985. 

Everything was in place for the show. And it did not disappoint, at least in part. Several records were broken early on. The first was the scoring record, with the East scoring 211 points to the West's 186. This happened because neither team chose to defend. While scoring always makes a game exciting, not defending can make it boring.

The NBA is still searching for formulas to restore the glamour and excitement that the All-Star Game once had, but has lacked in recent years. The final score was 211-186. The East beat the West convincingly.

Damian Lillard, the MVP of the NBA All Star Game. GETTY IMAGES
Damian Lillard, the MVP of the NBA All Star Game. GETTY IMAGES

The awards of the day went to Damian Lillard. He took home the MVP award after scoring 39 points. The award was contested by two other players: Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers, who played at home and scored 32 points, and Towns, who made a strong case with 50 points.

It was a record-breaking night. One that will be remembered for a long time. The 211 points far surpassed the 196 points scored at the 2016 All-Star Game in Toronto. As the crowd enjoyed themselves, it was clear that the record for three-pointers in such games had been broken with 42 made. 

One of them came from Haliburton's local hero. It put the East over the 200-point mark and was one of the most applauded moments of the night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

LeBron James completed his 20th All-Star appearance. GETTY IMAGES
LeBron James completed his 20th All-Star appearance. GETTY IMAGES

Individually, the Timberwolves' Towns did not take home the MVP award. Despite scoring 50 points, he was outstanding. He was outstanding, but he did not take home the most coveted award. That went to Lillard. Other notable players included LeBron James, who is always a standout. 

This weekend, the Lakers player set a record by making his 20th All-Star appearance, surpassing the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had 19. To be among the best for 20 years is a remarkable achievement. Especially when you consider the injuries and physical demands. He played 14 minutes and scored eight points. 

That was enough for the crowd to applaud and enjoy a legendary player who continues to defy time. Whether it will be for one, two or more years, or as part of the Paris 2024 Olympic dream, is anyone's guess. With a player like him, anything is possible.

The game itself was spectacular at times. There were spectacular plays and not so much when the opponents decided not to make each other's lives difficult. The excitement continued until half-time. Young players, eager to prove themselves in the East, added an extra spark. On the touchline were Doc and Chris Finch. 

They added to the excitement with long-range kicking, leniency in tackling and accuracy. The highlights were Haliburton trying to shine at home, Towns shooting from all over the floor, Lillard being the standout, and players like Doncic, who always brings a personality to wherever he plays. The coaches rotated players. They showcased talents like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, or Shai and Karlito.

The 73rd All-Star was played at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The 73rd All-Star was played at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Some players tried harder in the second half to avoid a runaway score, but everyone was more eager to attack than defend, and it showed. The three-point record was broken with 42 shots made, and 97 attempts were made, more than double the previous record, with MVP Lillard scoring 11. The Pacers' Haliburton, who was in contention for the MVP, made ten. Other stars of the game, like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant had 16 and 18 points respectively. 

The score was 104-89 at halftime. Until then, the competition was different from the second half. There were some fun moments between the players and the crowd. That is typical of this special and highly anticipated game that the NBA is bringing back. 

One of the attractions was seeing how far Towns would go with his scoring in the third and fourth periods. He scored 31 points in the final quarter and came close to breaking the scoring record. However, he came up five points short..

Eastern Conference Players: 

Giannis, Damian Lillard, Haliburton, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Paolo Banchero, Scottie Barnes, Tyrese Maxey, Donovan Mitchell, Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and Trae Young.

Western Conference Players: 

LeBron James, Devin Booker, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, Paul George, Shia Gilgeous Alexander, Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, and Karl Anthony Towns.