NBA All-Star Game Live Blog: Kevin Durant Earns MVP Honors As West Wins 152-149

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NBA All-Star Game Live Blog: Kevin Durant Earns MVP Honors As West Wins 152-149

Final – West wins 152-149:

Dwyane Wade finished with the third triple-double in All-Star game history, but missed the final shot to tie the game. Overall, the intensity in the fourth quarter was pretty high and made for an exciting finish. Definitely one of the better All-Star games that we've had recently, despite the fact that the Western Conference led for all 48 minutes. Just as I predicted, Kevin Durant was presented with the All-Star Game MVP Award. He finished with 36 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

Fourth quarter 1.1 seconds remaining – West leads 152-149:

Feel free to make your LeBron James-clutch jokes. After dominating for most of the game, James made an incredibly puzzling pass that was easily intercepted by Blake Griffin. It set up Griffin for free throws and gave the West a three point lead. The East will get one last shot to tie it with 1.1 seconds left.

Fourth quarter 16.3 seconds remaining – West leads 151-149:

After Kobe Bryant split a pair of free throws, the Eastern Conference will now have a chance to go for the win or the tie on one final shot. Who will take the final shot for the East?

Fourth quarter 22.8 seconds remaining – West leads 150-149:

I've officially seen it all — the crowd was chanting "de-fense" during an All-Star game. The East has cut the lead down to just one point with half a minute remaining.

Fourth quarter 2:22 – West leads 146-141:

LeBron James is doing his best to bring the East all the way back. He's hit a couple of absolutely insane three-pointers and has now tied Durant with 36 points. Despite the good-hearted nature of this game, we might actually have an exciting finish down the stretch.

Fourth quarter 5:41 – West leads 138-128:

Not to be mean, but the Celtics players in this game have been pretty lame. Rondo and Pierce are a combined 2 of 11 from the field and don't have any of the showstopping plays that we look for in an All-Star game. Pierce seems perfectly content to keep jacking free throw line jumpers.

Fourth quarter 8:10 – West leads 138-121:

The all-time scoring record for a single All-Star game is held by Wilt Chamberlain with 42 points. With just over eight minutes remaining, let's see if Scott Brooks gives his superstar Durant a chance to break that record.

End of third quarter – West leads 124-112:

The Eastern All-Stars have managed to hang around but aren't quite able to close the gap as we head into the final period. My pregame prediction is looking pretty good as Kevin Durant has scored 34 points and put his team in position to win the game.

Third quarter 3:15 – West leads 116-103:

In his 14th appearance, Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan for the most points in All-Star game history with an easy dunk.

Third quarter 6:00 – West leads 104-95:

LeBron continues to show why he's the best player in the world and has helped the East claw their way back into this game. Durant and James seem to have their own scoring contest going on. James has 26, while Durant still leads everybody with 29 points. Whoever's team wins the game will probably come out with the MVP trophy.

Third quarter 8:25 – West leads 98-87:

LeBron James has caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in the opening minutes. Dwyane Wade seems to have forgotten the purpose of an All-Star Game as he fouled Kobe hard on a drive to the basket. Kobe had a brief bloody nose, which allowed Reggie Miller to make some lame puns about "drawing first blood".

Start of third quarter – West leads 88-69:

Here's a fun fact for you: Thibodeau's Chicago Bulls allow an average of 87.9 points per game. While coaching the Eastern All-Stars, his squad allowed 88 points in the first half. The second half is about to get underway, let's see if Rondo or Pierce can get it going and put together some highlights.

Halftime – West leads 88-69:

Just like when the Oklahoma City Thunder play, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are dominating the competition. Durant leads all scorers with 21 points, but his teammate isn't far behind with 17. The Western All-Stars set a record with 88 points in the first half.

Second quarter 2:00 – West leads 78-60:

Dwight Howard is apparently determined to hit a three-pointer; he's currently 0 for three. Russell Westbrook entered the game and immediately started throwing down monster dunks. He seems like exactly the kind of player that the NBA needs to get in the Slam Dunk Contest — flashy and phenomenally athletic. Let him show Jeremy Evans how it's done.

Second quarter 5:28 – West leads 63-52

Suggested new rule: anytime someone finishes a fastbreak with a lay-up instead of a dunk, the points don't count. Seriously guys, we want to see dunks. Paul Pierce is desperately trying to get himself going, but it's not exactly working. The Truth has just three points on 1 of 6 shooting.

Second quarter 8:14 – West leads 52-39:

So, it turns out when you swap out Blake Griffin for Kevin Love, you get fewer highlight reel dunks. Some of the league's best young power forwards, Love and LaMarcus Aldridge entered the game and hit a couple tough fadeaway jumpers. Iguodala made me proud by finishing a fastbreak with a nasty dunk, switching hands while in midair.

End of first quarter – West leads 39-28:

Boston's Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce both entered the game for the final minute or so of the first quarter. Pierce promptly missed his first two shots. I'm sure Tom Thibodeau is loving the East's effort on defense; the West is only on pace to score 156 points.

First quarter 1:45 – West leads 34-28:

Perhaps one of the funniest plays of the game happened when Luol Deng found himself all alone trying to defend a Chris Paul-Blake Griffin fastbreak. Paul dished the ball back between his legs and Deng ran for his life as Griffin threw down the hammer.

First quarter 6:05 – West leads 24-13:

Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin have each had thunderous dunks. Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard each bricked 3-pointers. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade used their experience as teammates to put together some spectacular alley-oops. Thus far, it's pretty much what people expected: lots of dunks and no defense. Of course, Kobe Bryant thinks this is just a regular season Lakers game as he leads all scorers with 11 points on a bunch of boring mid-range jumpers.

7:30 p.m. ET: Look, basketball! All of Nicki Minaj's "musical performances" and the inexplicable Lil Wayne appearances are behind us — it's time for hoops. Rose, Wade, Anthony, James, and Howard start for the Eastern Conference while Paul, Bryant, Durant, Griffin, and Bynum start for the Western Conference. I'll make the not-so-bold prediction and say that Durant will win MVP of tonight's game. My pick for best dunk is Iguodala and Steve Nash will have the most ridiculous assist. Opening tip is supposedly minutes away.

7:00 p.m. ET: The All-Star Game is set to tip off in roughly 30 minutes and I'm ready to see the best players in the NBA try as little on defense as possible. This year there are six guys making their first All-Star appearance: Roy Hibbert, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum, Luol Deng, Marc Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Hopefully the first-time All-Stars got the memo that you're just supposed to feign effort on defense while letting guys throw down monster dunks.

8 a.m. ET: With all of the buzz around "Linsanity" in the Rising Stars Challenge and the acrobatics of the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest behind us, we can finally focus on the main event of the weekend: the NBA All-Star Game. The best players and biggest names all come together tonight as the Eastern All-Stars take on the Western All-Stars. As one would expect, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard are amongst the Eastern's top players. Joining them are Carmelo Anthony and the 2010-11 NBA MVP, Derrick Rose.

Kobe Bryant makes roughly his 409th All-Star Game appearance (actually his 14th) for the Western Conference. He is joined by fellow Los Angeles Laker Andrew Bynum and cross-town rivals Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Kevin Durant fills out the final spot in the starting lineup.

The Boston Celtics are represented by two players in this year's All-Star Game. Paul Pierce will make his 10th appearance and Rajon Rondo will make his third. Rondo was added at the last minute as the Hawks' Joe Johnson had to opt out with a knee injury.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action and coverage as the 2012 NBA All-Star Game tips off at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

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