The 60th annual NBA All-Star Game is in the books and the Western Conference was victorious with a 148-143 victory over the Eastern Conference.
Kobe Bryant started the game out aggressively driving past Derrick Rose for a monsterous dunk and draining a couple of long range jumpers. Bryant scored 9 points in the first six minutes of the All-Star Game and he never looked back.
All four of the Boston Celtics were subbed in to massive boo’s from the Los Angeles crowd. Paul Pierce seems to be the biggest villain of the bunch in the eyes of the Lakers faithful. The heat from the L.A. fans must have really gotten to Pierce because he had a miserable All-Star showing shooting 2-for-6 from the floor.
The West led the game after one quarter 37-27 and that’s when more reserves were inserted into the game. First time All-Star Russell Westbrook had no rookie jitters as he threw down a powerful breakaway dunk. The first time All-Star had 8 points in seven minutes.
New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul hit a buzzer beating floater to end the second quarter and the Western Conference took a 76-64 lead into halftime.
Kobe Bryant was clearly a man on a mission scoring 21 first half points and grabbing a team high 6 rebounds. The 13-time All-Star showed no signs of slowing down in the second half as he aggressively looked to score, often times snatching away rebounds from teammates. Bryant had 32 points by the end of the 3rd quarter. The only other Western Conference player to put up big numbers was Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant who scored 34 points on 11-of-23 shooting.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade left game in the 3rd quarter and never returned after tweaking his ankle. The Western Conference took a 117-110 lead into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter the Staples Center crowd started a “We Want Blake” chant and West Coach Gregg Popovich obliged. Griffin was inserted into the game and produced a few oohs and aahs from the fans. The Slam Dunk champion finished the game with 8 points.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James took his game to a new level in the second half and easily dominated the fourth quarter. James earned the second triple double [29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists] in All-Star history (Michael Jordan has the first in 1997) and put the East within striking distance but it was too little, too late.
The hometown hero Kobe Bryant walked away with the Most Valuable Player award after tallying 37 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists. This marks Bryant’s fourth All-Star Game MVP award tying him with Bob Pettit for the most All-Star Game MVP awards in NBA history.
“You could tell he started out from the start, he wanted to get the MVP,” Eastern Conference All-Star Amare Stoudemire said about Bryant. “He was not passing the ball at all [laughs]. But that’s Kobe.”
Amare is right.
“I wanted to come out and play hard,” said Kobe Bryant. “I feel like we have a sense of responsibility and we are voted in for what we do during the season, which is play hard. They want to see us go at it and see us compete and that’s what I try to do and that’s what I try to tell my teammates to do.”
It worked. The Western Conference won the 2011 All-Star Game 148-143 over the East and a good time was had by all.
I’ve enjoyed my time in Los Angeles covering the All-Star festivities and I look forward to bringing you more exclusive NBA coverage in the future. See you in Orlando in 2012.