The 2023 NBA All-Star Game has been called the “worst basketball game ever” by Team LeBron coach Michael Malone

G-League call-up Mac McClung may have saved Saturday night’s dunk contest, but now it seems the NBA All-Star Game itself needs saving. Team Giannis defeated Team LeBron on Sunday, 184-175, in a game that resembled more of a layup line or shooting practice than a competitive basketball game between the best athletes in the world.

The Elam end added a bit of drama in the fourth quarter as Team LeBron tried to close a 19-point deficit, but the rest of the game lacked competitiveness or an edge on the defensive end of the court. Jayson Tatum won MVP honors after setting an All-Star Game record with 55 points, many of which came with little to no opposition.

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who managed losing Team LeBron Sunday night, didn’t mince words after the game and spoke out against the lack of effort on either side.

“It’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be part of a great weekend, great players. But this is the worst basketball game ever played,” Malone said after the All-Star game. “I don’t know if you can fix it. I give Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving – these guys were like in competition. Joel begged some of the guys to play harder to try and build in some defense. Nobody got injured, they put on a show for the fans but it’s a tough game to get through. i won’t lie

Malone wasn’t the only one to take notice, as fans and media throughout the game commented on the quality — or lack thereof — during the 2023 edition.

As Malone mentioned, Embiid and Irving at least appeared to be in contention, averaging 67 points, 20 assists, 20 rebounds and four steals together, but it’s just difficult to get the best players in the league to play hard in an exhibition environment, especially in the playoffs less than two months away.

Case in point: LeBron James tried to play defense in the first half and tried to block a Pascal Siakam layup. He caught his hand on the rim and was injured for the second half.

As the Los Angeles Lakers battle for a playoff spot, James will regret the day he attempted to play defense in an All-Star Game if it means missing even one of the upcoming crucial games of the game teams missed.

As Malone said, there may not be a solution, especially in a traditional format. The league introduced the Elam ending with the target score a couple of years ago, which helped in the last quarter, but there’s really not much going on in the first three quarters. This is the elite of the elite, and they just won’t risk their health for a game that ultimately doesn’t affect rankings.

Unless there’s a significant shift in player or league mindset around a revised format, don’t expect future All-Star games to be much different.