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The NBA fixed the All-Star Game!

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We have that and more in Monday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: All Star Game-Team LeBron at Team Stephen Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA made a couple of tweaks to prevent another game where both teams almost score 200 points in the All-Star Game. They had two captains pick teams, they boosted the bonus for the winning team, and they made each team play for charity.

It worked! There were actual plays. There was actual defense. There were fouls, steals, blocks, HALFCOURT traps. And the game was competitive. We had crunch time, we had a crunch time video review, we had coaches substituting offense for defense, we had a dope lead-grabbing play! It was fantastic. Team LeBron won it over Team Steph 148-145. On Team Steph’s final play down three, LeBron and Kevin Durant doubled Curry in the corner. Unreal. LeBron won MVP.

The NBA really won by changing the narrative around All-Star. We’ll see if the All-Star draft is public next year. But they will definitely be picking teams again. While many of us (raises hand) enjoyed the pure insanity of the 2017 bucketfest, the NBA much prefers to believe people take All-Star seriously. So this was a win. And the players clearly enjoyed the whole vibe. Big win for the league.

Fergie did “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game. It was a ... special rendition. Draymond Green appears to have been caught laughing. The very weird anthem followed a very weird intro starring lots of Kevin Hart. The halftime show starring Pharrell Williams, his band N.E.R.D, Migos, hella mascots, and dope dancers was very good.

Donovan Mitchell is your 2018 Slam Dunk Contest champion. Congratulations! Larry Nance Jr. might have had the most inventive dunk with a double-tap alley-oop, but alas. Dennis Smith Jr. had the absolute best dunk of the night, but because 50 is the highest score it couldn’t get him to the final round. Tim Cato, who is not at all salty about Smith’s defeat, ranked all 12 dunks. SB Nation staff is very conflicted about Mitchell’s win and I’m feeling anxious about how frequently the dunk contest will amaze us in the future.

Devin Booker won the Three-Point Shootout with a record 28 points in the final round, beating Klay Thompson’s 25. While Booker has the record now, both Craig Hodges and Jason Kapono had better rounds back before there was a whole moneyball rack. Booker hit 20 of 25 shots in that final round though, which is a pretty rare achievement in the shoot-out. (Hodges hit 21 once. Craig Hodges was ridiculous.)

Spencer Dinwiddie is the most skilled player in all the land according to Taco Bell!

The World team smoked the USA team in the Rising Stars Challenge, with Bogdan Bogdanovic winning MVP honors.

The Celebrity Game was ... well, compelling is a little strong, but you get the idea. Quavo is your MVP!

NBA players tell us who would be on their bobsled teams. If there were more Scandinavians in the NBA, this would be an easier question to answer.

TNT aired an interesting 1-on-1 conversation between Kobe and Shaq. Here are the best bits.

What Winter Olympic sports do All-Stars think they would do well in?

Make 3-on-3 basketball a Winter Olympics sport.

Marvin Gaye’s famous 1983 NBA All-Star anthem, as remembered by those who were there for it.

This episode of BEEF HISTORY on the short but prescient Kobe Bryant vs. Ray Allen dispute is so danged good.

Speaking of quality NBA videos, Game of Zones is back.

A brief history of All-Star Saturday events that totally flopped. Who remembers 2-ball?!

LeBron to the Lakers rumors, explained.

Sloan papers are out.

Tim Bontemps points out that the NBA uses the Wynn in Las Vegas as a meeting place and hub during the summer, and that given the serious allegations against Steve Wynn, that needs to change.

Great Candace Buckner piece on Bradley Beal as a leader. He takes his dogs to John Wall’s house for playdates!

Attention to anyone foolish enough to think otherwise: LeBron James will not shut up and dribble.

Programming note: because there are no games until Thursday and the trade deadline has come and gone, GMIB is going to take a couple days off. We’ll be back Thursday morning.

Be excellent to each other.

It’s clear that Donovan Mitchell is a star