Stephen Curry was hot. Donovan Mitchell had a cold.
In short, that wraps up the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, a surprisingly entertaining display of the NBA’s best players that was missing one local hero. In the end, a Curry-led Team LeBron beat Team Durant, 163-160.
Mitchell missed the game with a non-COVID illness, which also caused him to miss the All-Star Saturday morning practice.
“It is a great honor and has always been a dream of mine to be selected as an NBA All-Star. Remorsefully, I will not be able to play in tonight’s All-Star Game due to an upper respiratory illness (non-COVID-related),” Mitchell said in a prepared statement.
“The entire All-Star weekend is a celebration of the basketball community, the fans and the sport I am blessed to play. I’m focused on getting well and back out on the court. Thank you for all the get-well wishes. I can’t wait to see the game later today,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell joined Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and James Harden in being named to the game but not being able to play due to an injury or illness. Chris Paul, who suffered a fracture in his thumb in the team’s last game before the All-Star break, actually did play for a few minutes, even though the Suns announced before the game that he’d miss 6-8 weeks of the regular season with the injury.
Mitchell’s fellow Jazz teammate, Rudy Gobert, did play in the game, playing 12 minutes and 33 seconds of action. The big man scored six points and added six rebounds and a steal during his time on the court.
The highlight of Gobert’s night came in the second quarter, when the French big man received a pass in the lane from San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray. He then spun a full 360 in mid-air before finishing the dunk — as many noted, a dunk that would have been among the stronger attempts in Saturday night’s disappointing dunk contest.
Ironically, the dunk came just after another noteworthy moment, this time coming from the commentary crew. Golden State’s Green, doing commentary during the game, took exception to being named in a list with Gobert as the kind of NBA All-Stars that add more defensive play to proceedings.
“We’re not alike,” Green insisted. “You keep mentioning me in the same sentence with him. We’re not alike.”
Meanwhile, Green’s superstar teammate Curry was absolutely on fire during the game, setting a new All-Star record for 3-point makes in a game. He shot 16-27 from deep, on his way to 50 points for Team LeBron. It’s more threes than have been made in a game — not just an All-Star game, but any game — in NBA history. It got to the point where Curry was being face-guarded and even double-teamed in an exhibition.
In the end, Curry finished two points short of the all-time All-Star scoring record, set by Anthony Davis in 2017.
The performance was in front of some of the best NBA players to ever play the game. The Utah Jazz duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone were honored at halftime of the event, as part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The league honored the 75 greatest players of NBA history, as voted on by an NBA panel — Stockton was in Cleveland to celebrate, while Malone missed the ceremony. Former Jazz player Pete Maravich was also named one of the 75 greatest players.
And during a timeout in the third quarter, the league performed a passing-of-the baton ceremony, in recognition that the 2023 edition of NBA All-Star Weekend will take place in Salt Lake City. Gobert, for his part, hopes that he’s part of next year’s action and is named to a fourth consecutive All-Star Game next year.
“It would be great, obviously, to do it to be at home — for the state, for the city and then for our fans. You know, I think that I think the city deserves this and I definitely would love to be part of it,” Gobert said.
Team owners Ryan and Ashley Smith addressed the crowd during the timeout.
“Cleveland knows how to party,” Ashley Smith said. “We’re excited to bring the party to Salt Lake.”
“We’re gonna roll it out in Utah, from Salt Lake to Park City. Don’t come for a couple of days, come for the whole week. Donovan and Rudy are hosting. It’s gonna be pretty sweet,” Ryan Smith said. “Everyone’s invited.”