LeBron James had the ball in his hands and a comeback on his mind.
Kobe Bryant blocked those plans - twice.
He may not leap like Blake Griffin, but Bryant can still get up when he needs to, especially when the defenseless part of the All-Star game is over and it’s time to stop somebody - even the league’s best player.
Bryant blocked James’ jumper, turning it into a dunk by Kevin Durant that helped the Western Conference put away the East 143-138 on Sunday.
On Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, the players most often compared to him turned the final minutes into a 1-on-1 duel, and it went to Bryant - the guy Jordan said he’d pick between the two.
”It was a great block,” Durant said. ”I haven’t really seen any MVP get a jumper blocked like that. It was a really great play.”
Chris Paul had 20 points, 15 assists and won MVP honors, and Durant scored 30 points. Griffin finished with 19, joining his Clippers teammate, Paul, in creating Lob City deep in the heart of Texas…
Bryant added a second late block of James, the MVP of the 2006 game here after leading a big East comeback. This time, he scored 19 points but shot only 7 of 18 after making 60 percent of his shots in six straight games before the break…
Carmelo Anthony led the East with 26 points and 12 rebounds…
[James] Harden had 15 points in his home arena, where the sights of the game were on the floor and the sounds were at the rim - which shook repeatedly after thunderous dunks for most of the game before, as usual, players tried to make some stops down the stretch…
Bryant finished with only nine points but had eight assists. Griffin shot 9 of 11 from the field and didn’t miss until trying to violently throw one down from a few feet away from the basket.
Indiana’s Paul George scored 17 and Kyrie Irving had 15 for the East.
[Chris] Bosh finished 3 of 9. Wade had 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting, the best performance of the three Heat players in the starting lineup.
– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press
“You just want to play fast,” Paul said after carving up the East with 20 points and 15 assists to win the Most Valuable Player Award in the annual All-Star game on Sunday.
“I like to throw the lob. I like to see guys hit threes. When we’re out on the court with all that fire power, why wouldn’t you want to make passes?
“You’ve got KD (Durant) filling one of the lanes, you’ve got Blake, Kobe on the wing. There’s nothing like it.”
Paul led the Western Conference to a 143-138 victory, hitting seven-of-10 shots from the floor to complement his pass-first game that had the East playing catch-up all night.
LeBron James, the high-scoring Miami forward who bagged 19 points in a losing effort, called Paul’s performance “unbelievable”.
“He’s one of the best players we have in this league,” offered James. “The number one point guard. It doesn’t surprise me what he did.”
– Reported by Steve Ginsburg of Reuters
Paul told Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer and last year’s All-Star game MVP, to expect to see the ball in his hands.
“I told KD early in the first quarter, ‘Man, if they score anything, you run. I’ll get you the ball, you score. I want to be the one to give it to you,’” recalled the Los Angeles Clippers guard.
“In games like this it’s so up‑tempo and fast paced, a guy like me that’s a facilitator, I enjoy it.”
Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks paced the East with 26 points, followed by Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who had 21, and LeBron James, who added 19.
Durant hit 13-of-24 shots to lead the West to a third straight victory in the annual showcase that features little defense, a lot of dunks, and plenty of assists for anyone who decides to pass.
– Reported by Steve Ginsburg of Reuters
Following three quarters of recreational defensive intensity, the closing stretch of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game mimicked many of the fourth quarters of All-Star games past: The players got serious about winning.
And as is usually the case, that effort was most evident on defense. While Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant pushed the Western Conference’s lead to 136-126 with his late breakaway dunk, it was Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant who ignited the fast break with his block of Heat forward LeBron James.
“I’m known for my defense,” said Bryant, who recorded two blocked shots and two steals in the Western Conference’s 143-138 win over the Eastern Conference. “I can defend. I’m pretty smart with my defense.”
All-Star Game rookies were served noticed of the shift in seriousness once the starters began trickling back into the game midway through the fourth quarter. Following a first half punctuated by alley-oop dunks, the fourth quarter served as a stark contrast, particularly on defense.
– Reported by MK Bower of the Sports Xchange