Bryant came to play in front of the home crowd. He was aggressive early, firing a game-high seven shots in the first quarter and never let up, finishing with 37 points, five shy of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record. "You could tell he wanted to get the MVP," said Amar?e Stoudemire. "He wasn?t passing the ball at all." Bryant also had two electrifying dunks, a baseline reverse slam and a thundering flush over LeBron James. Kobe?s MVP was his fourth, tying him for the most in NBA history.
Don't tell Durant All-Stars are exhibitions, not after Durant hit the floor hard after being sandwiched by Dwight Howard and Amar'e Stoudemire on a third-quarter drive. Durant was consistent all game, scoring at least five points in every quarter while tying for the team lead in blocks (two). "Shots felt good," Durant said. "Hopefully they feel good the next couple of days."
Paul's ball handling was dazzling at times. He orchestrated many of the west's 53 fast break points and tied for a team-high with seven assists. His shot wasn't falling much but CP3 frequently wowed the crowd with his penetration and dishing.
Anthony was his usual brutish self when the ball found him around the rim but he never found a rhythm on the perimeter and was badly outplayed by his frontcourt counterparts, LeBron James and Amar'e Stoudemire. Could be 'Melo had something on his mind: it's expected Anthony will be moved to New York or New Jersey before Thursday's trade deadline. "The end is here," Anthony said. "All this stuff will be over with. I'm excited for this stuff to be over with, and I'm pretty sure everybody else is excited for it to be over with."
Tim Duncan, F
11 min., 2 points (1-4 FG), 3 rebounds
All-Star games just aren't Duncan's thing anymore. For the fifth game in a row Duncan failed to crack double figures while playing fewer minutes than anyone on the West roster. Interestingly, West (and Spurs) coach Gregg Popovich limited Duncan to 11:40 of time while East (and Celtics) coach Doc Rivers played Kevin Garnett 7:32.
The allegedly soft Gasol was mixing it up with the East's big men late in the fourth quarter, putting back a missed shot in traffic to give the West a four-point cushion with less than a minute to go. Gasol was all over the offensive glass (six offensive rebounds) and his 17 points were third most on the team.
Manu Ginobli, G
20 min., 7 points (2-7 FG), 5 assists, 3 steals
Ginobili quietly put together a sold all-around game. He would have had a few more assists if his West teammates knocked down more shots off his kickout passes, but all in all, Ginobili played reasonably well.
Blake Griffin, F
14 min., 8 points (4-6 FG), 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Griffin told reporters he was "pretty tired" after a busy All-Star weekend. "I can barely stand up," Griffin said. "The last time I was this tired was probably training camp." Still, Griffin posted an economical 8-point, five-rebound, five-assist in 15 minutes and heard the loud chants from the fans to go back in early in the fourth quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki, F
14 min., 6 points (3-8 FG), 5 rebounds
The big German couldn't find the range on his jumper and beyond five defensive rebounds wasn't much of a factor. After scoring 22 points in last year's game in Dallas, this year Nowitzki only managed six.
Deron Williams, G
17 min., 5 points (2-7 FG), 7 assists
Like Paul, Williams struggled with his shot but made up for it with steady playmaking. After the game, Williams dismissed a report that he was eyeing the Knicks in 2012 as "not credible."
Russell Westbrook, G
14 min., 12 points (6-12 FG), 5 rebounds
In his first All-Star appearance (which happened to be in his hometown) Westbrook was fired up. It took him 12 shots to get his 12 points, but several were of the highlight-reel variety, including a powerful tomahawk dunk in the second quarter. Consider this the first of many trips to the NBA's showcase event. "I'm sure you will see Russell in the starting lineup in this game in a few years," Durant said.
Kevin Love, C
11 min., 2 points (1-3 FG), 4 rebounds
Love's lunch-pail style doesn't fit a flashy event, which showed in 11 uneventful minutes. His lone bucket didn't come until the fourth quarter and the NBA's rebounding machine finished the game with a paltry four.
You could see a mini battle brewing early between James and Bryant, with both eyeing the MVP award. Bryant took the trophy but James had the more complete game, finishing with his first All-Star triple double and just the second in All-Star game history.
Uh oh. Wade twisted his right ankle-the same ankle he tweaked last weekend in Boston-early in the third quarter, ending a solid playing night and sending Miami fans into a mild panic. Not to worry, Wade said after the game. If this was a game that counted, he would have kept playing. "It was an All-Star Game," Wade said. "If it was a regular-season game, I would have tied my shoes a little tighter and just gone back out there."
Rose was in attack mode all night. He hurled his body at the rim early and often and might have had better numbers if a few more fouls were called and a few more shots landed softer on the iron. Still, his 11-point, seven-assist night was a solid effort for a player making his first All-Star start.
Dwight Howard, C
21 min., 5 points (2-4 FG), 7 rebounds
Apparently, Howard thinks he has a three-point shot. He launched two three's early in the game before moving inside the line and finishing with a pedestrian five-point, seven-rebound night.
Stoudemire played like Stoudemire does: lots of points (29), not a lot of rebounds (6). Displaying his usual aggressiveness (with a touch of nasty) around the rim, Stoudemire was responsible for many of the East's 86 points in the paint.
Don't leave Bosh alone in these games; he will rain jump shots on you all night. Bosh was lethal from the perimeter, knocking down 70 percent of his shots while chipping in five rebounds. After the game Bosh and Durant -- who had a publicized war of words earlier this month -- shared a hug and a few words at center court.
Allen stretched his other three-point record -- the one for most career three's in All-Star competition -- to 22 with a pair of triples. Allen finished with 12 points and chipped in some physical defense on Bryant when he (and his three Celtics teammates) checked into the game in the first quarter.
Rajon Rondo, G
20 min., 6 points (3-5 FG), 8 assists, 2 rebounds
Rondo was wheeling and dealing on Sunday, finishing with eight assists in 21 minutes. The East's transition game looked sloppy at times, which didn't help Rondo's numbers.
Al Horford, C
10 min., 2 points (1-3 FG), 3 rebounds
Thanks for coming, Al. Hope you enjoyed the weekend.
Paul Pierce, F
11 min., 6 points (2-6 FG, 3 TOs), 2 assists
Tagged as the face of the Celtics, Pierce was roundly booed all weekend. He would have loved to respond on the floor but Rivers limited his 33-year old forward to just 11 minutes. He rattled home a tough baseline three in the second half but that was really the only highlight of his night.
What's the deal with Johnson's three-point shot? JJ's shooting 31.0 percent from three this year -- down nearly six points from last season -- and made just three or his nine attempts from beyond the arc on Sunday. That's a bad sign for a player who has made a living knocking down jump shots.
Kevin Garnett, F
7 min., 4 points (2-3 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 assists
Yes, that was KG you saw standing on the sidelines cheering on LeBron James -- yes, LeBron -- late in the game. Garnett's support of a hated enemy was easily the highlight of his night. "That's just KG," Doc Rivers said. "He just wanted to win."
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