By: Malaika Bobino
Orlando, FL – It didn’t take a looming lockout to keep the stars from shinning tonight. Excited to be back on the court, taking a break from a grueling schedule, NBA players maintained a smiles and had a good time on the court. The usual cast of characters were named to this year’s NBA All-Star game with a few surprising additions.
Every year it gets more and more competitive, especially due to the new generation of talent across the league but tonight the best in the NBA displayed why they were the chosen ones. The Western Conference wasted no time in soaring in the first half with an all time best 88 points.
The first time any team scored that many points in a All-Star game, yet the East Conference provided the best entertainment in dunks and assists. It makes you think back to the night before when the Slam Dunk Contest lacked the superstar caliber which many of us hope returns next year. There wasn’t much defense in the first half from the East as the West dominated early.
But as most All-Star games go the second half becomes more serious for the team who plays catchup. The East led by LeBron James and Dwayne Wade got back into the game mentally and physically to cut the lead down to one making it more exciting down the stretch.
“When you put that many great players on the floor, your in a bind on almost every possession,” said Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. “If you over commit to your help, your going to give up wide-open shots and then have to take a second shot. Often times the speed of the game your caught cross-matched and your giving up lay-ups.”
Not the case for the West, the two shinning stars were Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. In his 13th All-Star game Bryant set the all-time All-Star record surpassing Michael Jordan with 271 points. Jordan had set the record of 262 career All-Star points.
Kobe finished the night with 27 points. Durant ended his spectacular night with 36 points and the MVP. Along with Bryant they both led the West to a 152-149 victory over the East. Up by as much as 18 points Kevin began the night on a mission. By the end of the first half he led all scores for the West with 14 points.
“With all these great players on the floor, you never know what will happen, Durant said. “Guys making big shots and they cut it down to one. We were up 18.”
James who started the game with laughter and fabulous dunks got serious in the fourth along with the East. In the closing seconds LeBron inbounded the ball which resulted in a turnover for the East and that cost them the game. He finished with 36 points while Wade ended the night with a triple double.
“When I tried to throw it late, that’s what usually happens and it results in a turnover, said LeBron. “Definitely wish I could have that one back.”