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The Winners and Losers From the 2018 NBA All-Star Game

The new format prompted a rise in effort and defense—relatively speaking, of course—while Draymond found his laughs before and during the game

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The titular Sunday-night game is usually the worst event of All-Star weekend—except, on occasion, watching Celebrity X try to oop to Celebrity Y. But this year’s changed format showed promise for actual competition.

Here are the winners and losers of the night.

Winner: Effort-ish

In the spirit of All-Star defense, here’s a reminder that in the 148-145 Team Stephen loss, a LeBron team gave up fewer points than one did in a regular-season game this year.

Team LeBron played decent defense in the first quarter, and he certainly has no regrets about not drafting Draymond:

The player energy fluctuated between its traditional ASG form—blocking and dunking and jogging—and the most spirited play in years.

Props to Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook, though, for scrounging up effort whenever it meant hating hard against each other:

(At least this time, if Russ told Embiid to go home at the end of the game, the Sixers center would not have been in his home arena.)

Also, speaking of caring: Who wants to tell Brad?

Loser: Fergie’s Anthem

I have nothing against Mrs. Stacy Ann Ferguson. Come on. She’s friends with Chrissy Teigen. She was in 3008 on a song released in 2009 while the rest of the world was still, somehow, 2000-and-late. I know the Fergalicious definition. I know what it made boys go. And I respect that.

But that anthem made Draymond laugh out loud on national television:

An actual LOL, not just the “smirks at text” LOL. The NBA had Jamie Foxx dress in a cowboy uniform and rap then followed with this, the longest national anthem ever recorded. Here it is in full.

Winner: Imaginations

First, ours, for getting to picture Russ and LeBron together—

—followed by Kyrie Irving, dreaming up new tricks.

Loser: LaMarcus Aldridge

Reportedly picked last, LMA was the Division I walk-on of the All-Star game. He played the fewest minutes of anyone in the game with four (excluding Jimmy Butler, who did not play because of “illness”), scored zero points, and was given one shot opportunity.

”I’m not a flashy player,” Aldridge said when finding out he was picked last. Here’s to hoping he never gets traded to Toronto and plays under Dwane Casey for real.

Loser: The Pre-Game Concert

If the dunk contest is consistently good again, it only makes sense that another high-potential part of the All-Star broadcast would be underwhelming.

We salute you, Gaucho Jamie Foxx.

In case you missed it, the concert was a three-part musical about Kevin Hart’s journey to the NBA. I hope you did. I hope 11 minutes of your life never last so long or contain so much Rob Riggle.

Have award shows taught us nothing about celebrity skits? Must we subject Queen Latifah to this?

Winner: Friendship

AD began the All-Star Game wearing no. 0 instead of his usual no. 23, repping Pelicans frontcourt-mate DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie ruptured his Achilles in late January after being named an All-Star starter.