Powerhouse Team LeBron battles Team Durant

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    GIANNIS Antetokounmpo just finished a game in Memphis on Thursday night (Friday in Manila) and was being quizzed about LeBron James being his teammate in Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) All-Star Game.

    Antetokounmpo answered affirmatively when asked if he wanted to know the rest of Team LeBron’s starting lineup. He was told it was Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry.

    “That’s the starting five? Yeah, it’s over, guys,” Antetokounmpo said. “Me, LeBron, Luka, Jokic and Steph? Man, that’s a good starting five.”

    That powerhouse starting unit will attempt to help James improve to 4-0 as an All-Star Game captain when the showdown against Team Durant is held in Atlanta.

    Antetokounmpo, the two-time reigning league MVP of the Milwaukee Bucks, and James, a four-time MVP, will be playing together for the first time since the 2017 showcase, when the then-22-year-old from Greece scored 30 points on 14-of-17 shooting while playing in his first All-Star Game.

    Antetokounmpo is eager for the second occasion of playing with the Los Angeles Lakers’ star.

    “He just makes plays,” Antetokounmpo said regarding James. “Most of the time you’re just wide open, and I’ve never been used to that with somebody else creating the attention and me being wide open all the time. So, I’ve just got to do my job, make the right play, too, and do what I always do: Just play hard and hope I can help him get a win.”

    Of course, having a backcourt of Curry (Golden State Warriors), Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) as well as pass-happy big man Jokic (Denver Nuggets) should provide a lot of opportunities for Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.3 points in four All-Star appearances.

    Adding to the star power, Team LeBron also has an MVP-candidate in Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard coming off the bench.

    Kevin Durant’s roster isn’t quite as powerful but has a familiar ring to it with the selection of Nets’ teammates Kyrie Irving (starter) and James Harden (reserve).

    Durant (hamstring) is sitting out the contest with a hamstring injury. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics replaced Durant as a starter and is also on Team Durant. The other starters are Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers) and NBA-scoring leader Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.