The Western Conference All-stars won their third straight All-star game last night as they beat the East All-stars 143-138 in an amazing game that was viewed in 215 countries and territories. While many expected and predicted the Most-Valuable-Player award would boil down to a competition between LeBron James (203 cm) and last season’s game-MVP, Kevin Durant (206 cm, Texas’07), in the end it was Chris Paul (183 cm, Wake Forest’05) of the Los Angeles Clippers who led the West to victory.
Paul scored 20 points (4 of 5 from three-point range), got his teammates involved too via 15 assists, and got it done on the defensive end with four steals. He had fun and said that this was exactly his kind of game.
”When we’re out on the court with all that firepower, why wouldn’t you want to make passes? You’ve got KD filling one of the lanes, you’ve got Blake, Kobe on the wing. There’s nothing like it.”
The game was closely contested throughout all four quarters, with neither side wanting the other to run away with an easy victory. You could really feel that aside from wanting to entertain the crowd, both teams wanted to win the game. A clear sign that both all-star rosters were loaded with players brimming with the competitive spirit and talent that made them deserving of being selected as a participant of this special game.
As expected, Paul threw a lot of alley-oop lobs to teammate Blake Griffin (208 cm, Oklahoma’09) and there were tons of treys rained down from all over the court by almost everyone. Yes, even Lakers center Dwight Howard (211 cm) got in on the action and made his sole attempt from downtown.
The Eastern Conference all-stars were paced by the scoring of Carmelo Anthony (203 cm, Syracuse’03), through his 26 points and 12 rebounds. All-star game first-timers Paul George (206 cm, Fresno State’10) and Kyrie Irving (191 cm, Duke’11) were also impressive as they chipped in 17 and 15 points respectively.
Another special highlight of the game came in the latter half of the fourth quarter, the moment in most all-star games when things more serious. It was when Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (198 cm) decided to turn his defense up several notches, and in epic fashion the “D” was mostly focused on no less than LeBron James.
In a kind of game that is normally characterized for its lack of defense, it was pleasantly surprising to see Bryant go after and successfully block two of King James’ shots.
With the Lakers struggling to snag the last spot in the West’s playoff race, this could be the last epic stage Kobe and LeBron could go at it this season. Both players are often compared to the game’s “Greatest of All Time,” Michael Jordan. To some extent it was poetic how they went at it with the high-level competitive intensity they’re both known for. TNT’s NBA analyst and former Indiana Pacer, Reggie Miller summed up the duel nicely to wrap up the evening.
“(This) could be something like the old guard passing it on to the new guard, because Kobe doesn’t have too many games like this left” – Reggie Miller
Once more, another epic game highlighted by the World’s best basketball players is in the record books. Until we do all of this again in New Orleans in 2014, we savor the memories of this great game.