Final: West 148, East 143. The East gives the West a scare in the final seconds, with Ray Allen knocking down a wing 3, but it’s not enough. The Western Conference All-Stars survive for a dramatic victory, continuing a six-year run of alternating winners. This year, it was the West’s turn.
Kobe Bryant finishes with 37 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs. He’s a lock to win the fourth All-Star MVP award of his career, tying Bob Pettit for the most ever.
Kevin Durant adds 34 points, and Pau Gasol turns in 17 and 7 off the bench.
LeBron James gives the East a valiant effort in defeat, posting a triple-double of 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. LeBron and Amare Stoudemire took over the game in the fourth quarter; Amare also finishes with 29.
Los Angeles sure can host a party. Kobe and KD are the latest heroes in a weekend that’s also featured impressive performances from Blake Griffin, JaVale McGee and James Jones. Oh, and Justin Bieber, too.
That’ll do it from L.A. Stay tuned for … well, the second half of the NBA season, that’s what. It’s going to be a memorable one.
Fourth quarter, 18.9 seconds, West 146-140: That should just about do it. Chris Paul buries two free throws, and the West is just about ready to wrap this up.
Hell of a fight put up by the East, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough.
Fourth quarter, 1:46, West 142-135: Wait, where did Kevin Durant come from? All of a sudden, he’s got 32 points, including a huge 3 to pad the West lead. They’re back up seven despite Kobe doing nothing in this fourth quarter.
Nice performance from Durant. But still, you have to say Kobe and LeBron are the MVP favorites, depending on who wins.
Fourth quarter, 2:36, West 137-133: LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson have come roaring back.
This. Is. Not. Over.
LeBron now has 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He’s ready to take down Kobe and win this thing.
We could be in for a thrilling final two minutes.
Fourth quarter, 4:35, West 134-127: Here’s where it gets interesting. We’ve entered the final five minutes of the game, and it’s still reasonably close. It’s time for the East to start trying.
Effort on defense, teamwork, ball movement — these are the things you never see in the first 43 minutes of an All-Star game. They might carry the East back now.
Then again, probably not.
Fourth quarter, 5:31, West 134-122: Ridiculous coast-to-coast drive and emphatic dunk from LeBron James. The King now has 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Will he get the triple-double?
And if he does, that raises the question — which is more impressive, a 20-10-10 a la LeBron, or a 35-10 a la Kobe?
Fourth quarter, 7:35, West 129-116: Kobe Bryant might give you a hard foul, but he’ll also rub your head like a big brother afterward. Amare Stoudemire doesn’t seem to mind.
Kobe is back in the ballgame, and he’s still eight points away from Wilt. He’s got nine rebounds too, so he’s nearing a double-double.
Fourth quarter, 9:10, West 125-109: Forget about Kobe and Ray for a minute — the fourth quarter has been all about LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The young guns are getting their time to shine.
The two superstar scorers are dashing up and down the floor, scoring with little resistance.
The NBA — where layup lines in the fourth quarter happen.
Fourth quarter, 10:42, West 118-104: Defense and teamwork — that’s the Celtic way.
Kevin Garnett gets a defensive board, wings it the length of the floor, and finds Ray Allen for a dunk.
Beautiful play. But the West still leads by 14.
End of third quarter, West 117-100: Forget it — this game’s over. There’s only one question left, and it has nothing to do with which team wins.
Will Kobe catch Wilt?
The Laker legend has 34 points and needs eight to tie Wilt Chamberlain for the All-Star record, nine to overtake him.
Will it happen? We’ll soon find out. Gregg Popovich will give Kobe plenty of burn in the fourth quarter if he wants it.
Third quarter, 2:21, West 108-94: Doc is letting three of his four Celtics remain on the floor together — everyone but Kevin Garnett, who is getting plenty of rest tonight.
The other three C’s are thriving. Rajon Rondo just assisted Paul Pierce on a corner 3 — cutting the West’s lead to a meager 14.
Third quarter, 5:03, West 100-86: Dwyane Wade just came up limping. Looks like he rolled his ankle.
Doc Rivers calls a quick timeout to make sure he’s OK. Give him some credit — a less classy coach would have left him out there, and told him to play the next 17 minutes to boot.
Third quarter, 5:45, West 95-85: The all-time scoring record for an All-Star Game belongs to Wilt Chamberlain, who dropped 42 back in 1962. Nearly half a century later, Kobe is aiming to take Wilt down.
The Mamba just beat LeBron James off the dribble and got a layup. He’s just automatic right now.
He’s got 32 on 12-of-21 shooting, and we’re just getting started.
Third quarter, 7:21, West 90-79: LeBron James just tried to outplay Kobe Bryant, and he just got embarrassed.
LeBron tries to pull a chasedown on an attempted Kobe dunk; Kobe laughs, dunks anyway, and then gives LeBron a pat on the behind as he heads back down the floor. Then Chris Paul intercepts a bad LeBron pass, gets it back to Kobe, and Kobe pulls up and nails a 3.
The Mamba now has 30.
We’ve still got a ways to go.
Third quarter, 8:57, West 81-76: Uh oh, here we go. Derrick Rose is really feeling it now. It’s an 8-0 East run. We’ve got a ballgame again.
Rose is playing for the comeback win, and maybe even for an MVP. If he can lead the East all the way back, he’ll get himself some recognition.
Third quarter, 10:48, West 79-68: Derrick Rose and Amare Stoudemire come out firing for the East in the third quarter. Can the men in blue make their push?
The West has an aging nucleus — Kobe, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili. If those guys run out of steam in the second half, the East might have a shot.
But if Kobe keeps hitting shots, then forget about it.
Halftime, West 76-64: The West can’t finish out the first half without a few heroics. Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant each throw down incredible dunks, demonstrating once and for all that basketball is easy when no one’s attempting guard you.
Doc Rivers has always believed, and demonstrated, that defense wins championships. But D is nowhere to be seen on All-Star weekend. The East squad is getting waxed.
Kobe leads the way with 21 points for the West All-Stars; Kevin Durant adds 15, and Pau Gasol 12.
The East gets 12 from Chris Bosh and 10 each from Dwyane Wade and Amare Stoudemire.
Second quarter, 2:02, West 64-56: The Lakers should trade Kobe for Manu Ginobili. That guy has incredible chemistry with Pau Gasol.
Then again, Kobe’s pretty good too. He’s got a game-high 11 points to lead the West. Can’t go wrong with either one.
Second quarter, 3:55, West 58-49: That was an ugly 10 seconds. First Kevin Durant misses a dunk; then Rajon Rondo throws up a lob for a Dwyane Wade alley-oop, and Wade can’t finish.
There’s pretty much no one on the floor right now who isn’t trying too hard.
Relax, everyone. It’s just an exhibition game.
Second quarter, 6:09, West 49-43: LeBron James with the, “Hey, remember me? I’m still really good” drive to the basket for a powerful finish at the rim. King James now has six points … on 2-of-6 shooting.
Leading all the stars in shot attempts so far, though, isn’t LeBron. Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Durant have eight FGAs each.
Bron might wait until the fourth quarter to really take over. He’s letting everyone else have their fun for now.
Second quarter, 8:07, West 45-37: A pair of Southern Californians are tearing it up for the West. UCLA’s Russell Westbrook and the Clippers’ Blake Griffin are teaming up for every Western Conference bucket, including a monster slam from Russ in transition.
This entire West team’s got SoCal flavor. Between the Lakers, Clips and Bruins (don’t forget fellow UCLA alum Kevin Love), half the team has love for the locals.
Second quarter, 10:07, West 41-30: Joe Johnson is the last guy off the bench for Doc Rivers’ East All-Stars, and he makes his presence known right away. The Atlanta Hawk knocks down a 3 to break up a 6-0 West run.
Doc’s going to keep his Celtics on a tight leash tonight, it would appear. All four are back on the bench, and the East starters are getting plenty of run.
End of first quarter, West 37-27: Blake Griffin and Deron Williams just did a ridiculous give and go, with Blake finishing for the monster alley-oop slam.
This kid is only 21, but he can take over any game he wants. Doesn’t matter if he’s got the best players in the world around him — he’s just the most dazzling athlete in the game, period.
Kobe Bryant is the star of the night so far, pouring in 11 points to stake the West to an early lead. The Mamba also has two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
First quarter, 2:38, West 29-21: The good news for the C’s is that all four have already scored. The bad news is they’re still trailing.
Deron Williams just made a ridiculous 45-foot pass backward from under the basket to halfcourt. Kevin Love gets called for a backcourt violation as he catches it.
D-Will is no stranger to stupid All-Star Game mistakes. Remember last year?
First quarter, 5:31, West 21-10: Not a good start for the four Celtics. The West rattles off four quick points, two from Kobe and two from Pau Gasol. The Lakers are beating the C’s again.
It’s a 10-2 run for the West’s best. The East has got to step it up.
First quarter, 6:37, West 17-10: Doc Rivers wasn’t kidding. He’s going to his bench, and sure enough, he’s bringing in all four of his Celtic reserves at once. The Los Angeles locals are showering the C’s with boos, but Doc doesn’t seem to much care.
The big question going into this game was who Doc would put into the game with his four Celtics. Initially, it looks like the answer is Dwight Howard. We’ll see if Doc dips further into the bench later in the quarter, though. Al Horford would be a good match with these four as well.
First quarter, 6:57, West 15-10: Most of the East All-Stars have been pretty sluggish so far offensively, settling for jumpers too often early on. But not Amare Stoudemire.
The Knicks’ big man is charging to the hole and getting buckets with ease. It’s almost like no one’s defending him!
Oh, right, this is the All-Star game. No one is.
First quarter, 8:51, West 8-6: Kobe Bryant’s not content to settle for three career All-Star MVPs. He’s dying to get a fourth.
The Black Mamba pours in four points early, two on a difficult fadeaway jumper on Dwyane Wade and two on an aggressive charge to the basket for a dunk.
Kobe said he’d be settling for a lot of jump shots in this one. So far, not so — he’s mixing up his game and showing a surprising amount of aggression.
First quarter, 11:43, East 2-0: Amare Stoudemire gets things started with a bang, dunking emphatically on (potentially future teammate?) Carmelo Anthony.
Tonight, Amare exposes that Carmelo doesn’t play any defense. In the coming years, he might learn that lesson the hard way, by playing with him.
8:30 p.m.: Word of advice, NBA: More basketball, less Lenny Kravitz.
Just to provide a frame of reference, Kravitz is 46 years old. He signed his first record deal in January 1989. Blake Griffin was born in March of that same year.
That’s how out of touch the league is.
It’s a great display of mutual ignorance — most of the players have no idea who Kravitz is, and probably vice versa.
Anyway, basketball might be played at some point soon. Stay tuned…
8:15 p.m.: It would be naive to expect this thing to actually start at 8, wouldn’t it? Still lots of performances and celeb interviews to go.
Probably the highlight of the last hour was Diddy saying he was disappointed Blake Griffin couldn’t be in the All-Star Game. Apparently he thinks there’s a rule against rookies playing?
Nope, Blake’s playing. He’ll be coming off the bench for the West squad soon enough.
7 p.m.: We’re an hour away from game time. Here’s a burning question for the C’s fans out there: Who do you want to see playing alongside the four Bostonian All-Stars?
They’ve got positions one through four booked solid, so they need a big man. Dwight Howard is the obvious choice, although Doc Rivers could also dip into his bench for backup Al Horford.
Or the East could go small with a third forward on the floor. Amare Stoudemire? Chris Bosh? Maybe even LeBron James?
Take your pick. No matter what, this is gonna be fun.
8 a.m.: Within each NBA conference, there are countless little rivalries between players that add to the drama of every season.
LeBron James versus Dwight Howard — who’s the biggest rising star in the East?
Kobe Bryant versus Tim Duncan — who’s the consummate winner out West?
Chris Paul versus Deron Williams — who’s the West’s top point guard?
Derrick Rose versus Rajon Rondo — who’s the East’s best?
These storylines never get old. They keep us energized all season. But for one night and one night only, we can set them aside and watch the top players from each conference come together.
The game’s biggest names might be enemies for 364 days a year, but not on All-Star Sunday. This is our one chance to see rivalries set aside in the name of some star-studded fun.
The East and the West tip things off at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, at 8 p.m. Eastern. You’d better not miss it.