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Boston Celtics Star Jayson Tatum's 55 Points Earn MVP Honors, Set NBA All-Star Game Record

NBA All-Star Game

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum hoists the Kobe Bryant MVP Award after scoring a record 55 points in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum entered All-Star Weekend wanting one of two things, if not both a 3-point shootout title and the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. He was the last player eliminated in the first round of Saturday’s shootout, but he managed to leave with more than he bargained for on Sunday.

With a free throw late in the fourth quarter of the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, Tatum scored his record-breaking 53rd point, eclipsing the mark previously set by Anthony Davis in 2017. Needless to say, he was the unanimous selection among the nine media members who voted for the exhibition’s MVP honor.

It was quite the promotion for his newly released Tatum 1 signature shoe from Jordan Brand.

“It’s extremely special for me,” said Tatum, who grew up idolizing Bryant, the late Los Angeles Lakers legend. “My first All-Star Game was in Chicago in 2020 when they renamed the MVP after him. I remember telling myself that day that I’ve got to get one of those before I get done. To be able to wear my signature shoe today and break the record and take home this award of somebody that I idolized, it’s a hell of a day.”

Tatum finished with 55 points on 22-of-31 shooting (10 of 18 from 3-point range), leading Team Giannis to a 184-175 victory in the All-Star Game. He added 10 rebounds and six assists in his 35 minutes of action.

“I think I had, like, 49, and [Damian Lillard] was, like, ‘The record is 52, go get it,'” said Tatum, who became the first player to register a 50-point game during the regular season, playoffs and All-Star Weekend.

Tatum entered halftime with 17 points before exploding for a single-quarter record of 27 points in the third, highlighted by a handful of possessions going toe-to-toe opposite Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown.

“That was like another day at the office for us, right?” said Tatum, whose Celtics (42-17) lead the East. “Been on the same team for six years now. We’ve played a countless number of one-on-one games and scrimmages against each other. We’ve always brought the best out of each other, so it was a normal day for us. Just millions of people watching on one of the biggest stages, so we had a little fun with it.”

Jayson Tatum

Nikola Jokic mistakenly thought he was NBA All-Star Draft's last pick

Nikola Jokic mistakenly thought he was last pick of All-Star Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Nikola Jokic wasn’t the last pick in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game draft. But that was news to him.

As LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted their teams ahead of Sunday night’s exhibition game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, the last two players available were Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and the Denver Nuggets center.

Since James used his first starter selection on Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, there was an argument to be made for him to go with the Finnisher over the Joker.

But before James announced his pick, Jokic got up from his chair and walked toward the NBA’s all-time scoring leader in an apparent effort to ensure he wasn’t the final pick of the draft. James then announced Jokic as his selection.

In the moment, it seemed like a hilariously clever (and justifiable) move from the two-time reigning NBA MVP to avoid being the last pick.

However, after Team Giannis defeated Team LeBron in the All-Star Game, Jokic told reporters that he didn’t realize Markkanen was still on the stage and that he walked over to James thinking he was the last pick. He felt bad about the move afterward.

Last pick or not, Jokic wasn’t surprised that he didn’t get drafted earlier.

“I wouldn’t pick me, either,” he said. “This game isn’t for me.”

Jokic, who was making his fifth All-Star appearance, posted four points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals in 20 minutes of action.

Here are the complete rosters:

Team Giannis

Starters

G Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

G Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

F Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

F Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz

Reserves

G Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

G Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks

F Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

C Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

G/F DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

C Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings

 

Team LeBron

Starters

C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

G Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks

G Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

C Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

F LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Reserves

G Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

F Julius Randle, New York Knicks

F Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

F Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

G Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

F Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

G De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

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