NBA All-Star: Giannis scores game-high 38 points in defeat to Team LeBron

Giannis Antetokounmpo
The 'Greek Freak' was the highest-scoring player at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game

Giannis Antetokounmpo reaffirmed his status as one of the hottest new talents in the NBA as he scored a game-high 38 points in Sunday's All-Star game - although his team lost to LeBron James' side 178-164 as basketball's biggest names lit up the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Antetokounmpo, nicknamed the 'Greek Freak', has led the Milwaukee Bucks to the top of the Eastern Conference with the NBA's best record.

At 24 he is a leading contender for this season's Most Valuable Player award and All-Star MVP Kevin Durant says he has "potential through the roof".

Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo
All-Star MVP Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo were among the stand-out players in Charlotte

Antetokounmpo's opposing captain 'King' James was making a record-equalling 15th All-Star appearance.

"I had my name on that MVP until the third quarter. They got hot and took it away from me," Antetokounmpo said after Team LeBron's Durant clinched the Most Valuable Player award with 31 points.

Curry to Antetokounmpo clears the bench

Giannis Antetokounmpo
His team-mates loved it when Antetokounmpo combined with Curry for the play of the night

Three-time NBA champion Steph Curry had a poor shooting night in his home town - but he set up Antetokounmpo for the moment of the night.

Curry rewarded his captain for making him his first pick with a crowd-pleasing alley-oop bounce pass which the Greek dunked in emphatic fashion.

Hamidou Diallo soars above Shaquille O'Neal in the dunk contest
Hamidou Diallo soared above Shaquille O'Neal in the dunk contest

Another highlight of the All-Star weekend was the Slam Dunk contest.

This year's winner was Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo, who revealed he was wearing a Superman shirt under his kit before dunking over 7ft 1in Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

An elite contest

LeBron James
LeBron James equalled Kobe Bryant for a record 15th All-Star appearance

A sold-out crowd of 19,070 filed into the Spectrum Center for the All Star game, with the famous faces watching on including actors Jamie Foxx and Chris Tucker, and rappers J Cole, Ludacris and Meek Mill.

Team LeBron featured the Los Angeles Lakers' forward alongside starters Harden, Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard, while Antetokounmpo's line-up included starters Steph Curry, Paul George, Joel Embiid and Kemba Walker.

Antetokounmpo's hand-picked squad scored a record-equalling 53 points in the first quarter, and were leading 95-82 at half-time.

The secret to Team LeBron overcoming a 20-point deficit? Rapper J Cole.

James persuaded coach Mike Malone to let the team leave the locker room to watch his half-time set, with Malone agreeing on the condition that they play better in the second half.

"LeBron made my words known, they watched the concert, and they came out and played great," Malone said after his charges outscored Team Giannis 96-69 after the break.

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