Damian Lillard of Bucks awarded 2024 NBA All-Star Game MVP

Photo of Damian Lillard awarded 2024 All Star Game MVP.

During the NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, “Dame Time” took center stage. Damian Lillard, representing the Milwaukee Bucks, was named MVP of the All-Star Game on Sunday after scoring 39 points and leading the Eastern Conference to a 211-186 victory over the West, marking the highest-scoring midseason exhibition yet.

He made history by joining Michael Jordan as the only player to win a Saturday night event and receive MVP honors in the same All-Star Weekend.

Reflecting on this remarkable feat during his postgame press conference, Lillard expressed gratitude, recognizing the significance of being mentioned alongside a legend like Jordan. With the Kobe Bryant MVP trophy in front of him, Lillard commented, “Being mentioned in the same category as Mike is an honor and a major accomplishment, even if it’s just during All-Star Weekend. Because if it were easy, more people would have achieved it.”

On Saturday, Lillard emerged victorious in the 3-point contest, narrowly edging out Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Trae Young from the Atlanta Hawks in the final round. Notably, Jordan triumphed in the dunk contest back in 1988.

Towns displayed an admirable performance as the runner-up on Sunday, leading the West with 50 points in just 28 minutes, becoming only the fourth player in All-Star Game history to surpass the 50-point threshold. However, Lillard faced stiff competition for the MVP title from his Eastern Conference teammates, particularly Tyrese Haliburton from the Indiana Pacers and Jaylen Brown from the Boston Celtics.

Haliburton, a beloved figure in his hometown, tallied 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting, accompanied by 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He initially outscored the West 15-14 at the game’s onset, making all five of his field goal attempts before narrowly missing a long-range shot from 34 feet.

Brown contributed 36 points on 15-of-23 shooting and secured 8 rebounds. His standout performance in the late stages of the third quarter was instrumental in the East reclaiming control of the game after the West narrowed the deficit to 12 points.

In the MVP voting, Lillard received seven out of twelve votes, while Haliburton garnered the remaining five. Lillard’s case for MVP was further solidified when Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks failed to convert an alley-oop attempt to himself, with the ball bouncing off the rim in the third quarter. Lillard seized the rebound, advanced the ball, and drained a 3-pointer from 41 feet, extending the East’s lead to 132-105.

He continued his impressive performance in the fourth quarter, adding six more points, including a 44-foot three-pointer with 22.1 seconds remaining. Lillard concluded the game shooting 14-of-26 from the field, including 11-of-23 from beyond the 3-point line, and distributed 6 assists.

This was his eighth appearance at the All-Star event, but it marked his first time being chosen as a starter.

“At this point in my career, I’ve gained a lot of experience,” remarked Lillard, now 33 years old. “So, why not set my sights on an MVP? I’ve dedicated plenty of time to this game.” For Lillard, who recently switched to the Bucks in a trade during the offseason, departing from the Portland Trail Blazers after eleven years, the weekend provided a much-needed break amidst the team’s tumultuous season.

“It’s been a challenging year, particularly adjusting to a new team; we’ve had three different coaches since my arrival,” Lillard revealed, referring to the unexpected replacement of Adrian Griffin with Doc Rivers, followed by Joe Prunty’s brief interim tenure. “During times of adversity like this… that’s when your true character shines through. Stay authentic, maintain faith, and things tend to improve over time.

“You just have to stay resilient.” However, the same level of commitment wasn’t evident in the defensive efforts of both All-Star teams.

“I believe we could’ve displayed more competitiveness,” conceded Lillard. “Scoring 200 points is quite a lot. It indicates that perhaps we didn’t compete as fiercely as some would have liked. But that’s the way it goes. We have a lot of talent out there, a lot of successful shots, especially from long range, and that’s essentially it.”


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