Durant to lead West to All-Star Victory
LOS ANGELES-Agence France-Presse
West All-Star Kevin Durant (C) of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a basket as East All-Stars Dwyane Wade (L) of the Miami Heat and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic look on. REUTERS photosevin Durant stole the spotlight from LeBron James to help orchestrate a stirring 152-149 in the 61st NBA All-Star Game victory for the Western Conference on Sunday on a night when Kobe Bryant broke Michael Jordan’s career points record.
Durant, who was named most valuable player of the game, shot 14 of 25 from the field and finished with seven rebounds and three assists for the West at the Amway Center arena.
“This is a dream come true,” Durant said. “These guys fed me the ball I am glad to be taking this trophy (MVP) back to Oklahoma City. I am happy I got MVP. Everything has been fun this weekend I am glad we came out on top.”
The three-time all-star Durant got offensive support from teammates Blake Griffin, who had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Bryant who finished with 27 points to surpass Jordan for the most career all-star points.
Records for most points in 14th appearance
Four-time all-star MVP Bryant vaulted past Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before getting the record-setting points. He passed Jordan’s previous mark of 262 points by finishing off a dunk in the third quarter.
Bryant was making his 14th straight all-star appearance which tied him with Jerry West, Karl Malone, and former Laker teammate Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive all-star berths in league history.
In last year’s showcase in Los Angeles, hometown hero Bryant scored 37 points in the West’s 148-143 win over the East at Staples Center arena.
“He’s an unbelievable scorer,” Wade said of Bryant. “That record he got, with KD [Durant] in the league, I don’t know how long it’s going to last.
“But Kobe is a scorer. Tonight he does what he normally does. He got 27. He’s Kobe Bryant. But it’s great being a little piece of history. He’s one of the best of all time. We will one day say we had the honor of playing against one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.”
36 points from LeBron not enough
Eight-time all-star LeBron James finished with 36 points, seven assists and six three pointers for the East who rallied in the fourth to make a game of it on Sunday.
The West had a commanding 88-69 point lead at the half and led 124-112 at the end of the third but the East, behind the three-point shooting of James, who made six of eight attempts from beyond the arc, battled back.
Deron Williams and Dwyane Wade both missed three-point attempts in the final seconds that could have given the East a lead or sent the game into overtime.
“They beat us up all game and we wanted to make a game out of it,” James said of the late rally. “I had a key turnover when we had opportunity to tie game and so I am mad about that.
“But it was a great weekend. All-star weekend was a great success and I am happy to be a part of it.”
James was the MVP of the 2006 and 2008 all-star games and he was playing alongside Miami Heat teammate Wade who was MVP in 2010. Wade finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the East.