There was effort. There was defense. And yes, this happened at the 2018 All-Star Game. Dreams do come true.
Team LeBron escaped Staples Center with a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen on Sunday night in an exciting, back-and-forth showdown. LeBron James took home the MVP trophy, finishing only two assists shy of a triple-double (29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists). Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 points for Team Stephen, but Warriors star and team captain Stephen Curry shot only 4 for 14 with six turnovers in the loss.
NBA ALL-STAR 2018: Three takeaways from Team LeBron's win
Sporting News provided live updates from the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. Check out all the highlights you missed from Team LeBron's victory.
NBA All-Star Game 2018 live updates, highlights
NBA All-Star Game MVP: LeBron James, Cavs
11:25 p.m. ET — LeBron James wins his third All-Star Game MVP, finishing with a game-high 29 points (12-of-17 shooting), 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Final score: Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145
11:17 p.m. ET — On the final possession, Stephen Curry tries to find an opening for a 3-pointer, but LeBron James and Kevin Durant team up to force a pass to DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors guard is unable to get a shot off before time expires. Game over.
DEFENSE JUST WON AN ALL-STAR GAME. WHAT?!
11:13 p.m. ET — Paul George isolates against Joel Embiid, but his shot is rejected by "The Process." DeMar DeRozan hits one of two free throws after being fouled by George. LeBron James answers with a layup off a nice dish from Kyrie Irving (don't cry, Cavs fans).
DeRozan then turns the ball over on the ensuing possession, and Team LeBron tic-tac-toes the ball around the defense for a Russell Westbrook layup. A lot just happened.
Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145 with 10.7 seconds left.
11:09 p.m. ET — Team Stephen keeps the ball following a questionable call. (We'll have to wait for the Last Two Minute Report on Monday.)
The game is tied at 144 with 1:07 left in regulation and 0.3 seconds left on the shot clock for Team Stephen.
11:05 p.m. ET — LeBron James drills a stepback 3-pointer to tie the game at 144! The officiating crew heads to the table for a review after Joel Embiid appeared to lose the ball off his leg out of bounds.
Wait, there's actually a review in an NBA All-Star Game?
LeBron James drills the stepback 3 over Joel Embiid to tie up the game pic.twitter.com/7rWntqQhS6— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 19, 2018
10:58 p.m. ET — OK, this is what the fans wanted to see. With 2:14 on the clock, Team Stephen leads Team LeBron, 142-141. Get ready for a fun finish...
10:55 p.m. ET — Kyrie Irving still has the ball on a string.
10:49 p.m. ET — Hand in the face? Damian Lillard doesn't care. He is here for the buckets.
10:44 p.m. ET — Did you know that occasionally a famous person will arrive in Los Angeles?
End of third quarter: Team Stephen 112, Team LeBron 109
10:35 p.m. ET — Through three quarters, Team Stephen is still ahead, but this one could go down to the final seconds. Each team has at least six players with double-digit points, and both sides are still giving enough effort defensively to prevent this game from turning into an extra Slam Dunk Contest.
The leading scorers so far: LeBron James (19), Karl-Anthony Towns (17), Joel Embiid (15) and Klay Thompson (15).
10:27 p.m. ET — This was actually better than any of Victor Oladipo's attempts in Saturday night's Slam Dunk Contest.
10:20 p.m. ET — Draymond Green got out of the frame IN A HURRY.
10:13 p.m. ET — Stephen Curry, noted in-game snacker...
10:07 p.m. ET — And we're finally back for the third quarter. Kevin Durant kicks off the second half with a 3-pointer, and DeMar DeRozan answers with a nice reverse layup. Let's see if these All-Stars keep it competitive.
9:57 p.m. ET — "Remember when you guys tried to replace me with Isaiah Thomas?"
"I know, man. That was awful."
All jokes for Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on the bench pic.twitter.com/bgSqaQiNJ4— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 19, 2018
Halftime: Team Stephen 78, Team LeBron 76
9:37 p.m. ET — Team LeBron puts up 45 points in the second quarter to cut the deficit down to two points. There was actually some attempt at contesting shots and getting back in transition. LeBron James leads his own team with 15 points, and Stephen Curry's "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson has tied James with 15 points of his own on five 3-pointers.
Hey, it's close at least, right?
9:31 p.m. ET — TRUST. THE. PROCESS.
9:28 p.m. ET — LeBron to Russ to LeBron... beautiful.
9:23 p.m. ET — Kyrie... what is this dribble?!
Kyrie Irving was looking to break out the moves on Giannis Antetokounmpo pic.twitter.com/MWYVjG5xzV— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 19, 2018
9:19 p.m. ET — Giannis Antetokounmpo got called for goaltending because this didn't seem like it should be possible. But it was a legal block. Wow.
....they called this goaltending but....— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 19, 2018
DAMN GIANNIS pic.twitter.com/gMb0hzJAlG
9:15 p.m. ET — There is no 4-point line in the NBA All-Star Game, so Damian Lillard is just inventing one for himself.
End of first quarter: Team Stephen 42, Team LeBron 31
9:07 p.m. ET — Team Stephen takes an early 11-point lead. Karl-Anthony Towns leads Curry's squad with a game-high 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
However, the best highlight of the first frame comes courtesy of this off-the-bounce alley-oop. LeBron James finds Anthony Davis for the easy score.
8:56 p.m. ET — PLEASE NO ONE GET HURT.
LeBron James out here trying to jump over Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/vPddxQe5m6— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 19, 2018
8:50 p.m. ET — A nice gesture by Anthony Davis. The Pelicans forward is wearing the jersey of DeMarcus Cousins, who is out for the season after suffering a brutal Achilles injury.
8:44 p.m. ET — We may have already seen more defense in the first quarter than all of last year's game. Joel Embiid opens the game with a traditional 3-point play for Team Stephen.
8:35 p.m. ET — This is basically everyone during that intro and Fergie's rendition of the national anthem. Man, just throw the ball up already.
The way we all feel about the way we’ve spent the last 30 minutes of our lives. pic.twitter.com/I7gNI0WnRY— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 19, 2018
8:31 p.m. ET — Give Jamal Crawford an entertaining game! Come on, people!
I hope they really go at it this game.— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) February 19, 2018
8:23 p.m. ET — Here's the point of view for the All-Stars as Kevin Hart rattles off jokes for each player. These intros have taken roughly six hours.
Players waiting to hit the stage pic.twitter.com/LnK3LiGBBr— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) February 19, 2018
8:15 p.m. ET — This Kevin Hart-Rob Riggle intro is... something. Cavs forward Tristan Thompson speaks for all of us.
— Tristan Thompson (@RealTristan13) February 19, 2018
8:05 p.m. ET — You can never be too careful when picking out the game balls.
8:01 p.m. ET — Stephen Curry is rocking his own shoes and the headband, so you know he means business.
7:43 p.m. ET — Let's assume Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving are having a nice discussion about their favorite conspiracy theories.
7:30 p.m. ET — Friends back together again. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving greet each other before Sunday night's big game. (And yes, they are both on Team LeBron.)
How to watch the 2018 NBA All-Star Game live
|When: Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles|
|Stream: Watch TNT|