MVP Durant and West hold off East againFeb 27, 2012 - 6:40 AM Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant had 36 points in an MVP effort, Kobe Bryant set the all-time NBA All-Star Game scoring record and the West held off a furious rally for the second straight year to beat the East, 152-149, on Sunday.
Deron Williams and Dwyane Wade both missed three-pointers in the final seconds that could have either given the East the lead or tied the game -- ending an All-Star Game that was particularly thrill-a-minute, even for the historically underdefended showcase.
Bryant had 27 points and broke Michael Jordan's All-Star scoring record, while LeBron James led the East with 36 points but didn't take either of his side's final two shots.
Bryant's 271 points in 14 career All-Star Games passed Jordan's old record of 262, but it wasn't the only record set or matched during the game.
Among the others, the West established a new mark with 88 first half points and Wade had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to join James and Jordan as the only players with a triple-double in the All-Star Game.
The East never had a lead and trailed by as many as 21 in the third quarter, but made a run for the second year in a row.
Last year, James and Amare Stoudemire sparked a rally that cut the East's deficit from 16 points to two in less than four minutes late in the fourth quarter. But the West held on for a 148-143 win and Bryant won his fourth All- Star Game MVP award.
This year, James hit a step-back three-pointer over Bryant from the left side and Carmelo Anthony completed a three-point play to trim the West's lead from 12 to six just like that.
Later, James drained another three-pointer -- he was 6-of-8 -- over Russell Westbrook to make it a 144-141 game and Williams converted his steal into a layup to draw the East within one, 148-147, with under two minutes to play.
Wade could have give the East a lead, but he bobbled a long outlet pass from James and Blake Griffin's dunk at the other end made it a three-point game again.
Wade made two free throws and Bryant went 1-for-2 with 18.1 seconds left, setting up a frantic finish. After the East called a timeout with 16.3 seconds left, James passed across the point to Williams but the Nets guard missed his three-point try.
Williams got the rebound but James had a pass stolen by Griffin, who then made 1-of-2 free throws at the other end. The final play went to Wade, who was off balance and double-clutched his shot from the left wing, airballing the three- point try.
With 34 points after three quarters, Durant was just eight shy of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star Game record of 42 set in 1962. He went 1-for-2 in the fourth quarter, but still walked away as the MVP.
"It's exciting to be named to the All-Star (team), but to step it up another level and become MVP, it's only something that as a kid you dream about," Durant said. "Coming from where I came from, I didn't think I would be here. Everything has just been a blessing to me. I'm excited, I'm glad I'm taking this back to Oklahoma City."
He was the only West starter not from a Los Angeles team. Griffin scored 22 and Clippers teammate Chris Paul had eight points and a game-high 12 assists.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum played only 5 1/2 minutes to rest an injury and went scoreless. The West's top reserves were Westbrook with 21 points -- 15 in the second quarter -- and three-point champion Kevin Love, who scored 17.
Magic center and overall vote-leader Dwight Howard, playing in front of a home Orlando crowd, scored just nine points with 10 rebounds. Anthony had 19 points and Derrick Rose scored 14 to round out the East starters. Williams added 20 off the bench.
"Thank you to everybody in Orlando for everything we did this weekend because we all did a good job," Howard said. "I haven't seen it like this here in Orlando since The Finals."
Coaches Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls and Scott Brooks of the Thunder were forced to draw up plays at the end of the game. But in the first half, it was all free-form offense.
"It was a great game and everything that happened was sort of anticipated," Thibodeau said.
Much has been made of the top NBA stars shying away from the dunk contest, which was won Saturday night by little-known Jazz forward Jeremy Evans.
It was easy to see why the complaints persist after James sparked a slam dunk barrage. Among his jams was a crafty left-hander that took him under the basket and an alley-oop dunk from Wade after James had first pulled off a behind-the-back pass to his Heat teammate.
That dunk tied the game at 9-9. On a fast break later in the first quarter, Paul dropped a bounce pass behind himself for Clippers teammate and 2011 dunk champion Griffin, who took off for a one-hander from a couple steps inside the foul line.
There were 28 dunks in the first half -- 14 in each quarter. There were only 14 combined dunks in the second half.
"It was a fun game to coach," Brooks said.
The West took a 39-28 lead into the second quarter, then exploded for 49 more points before halftime. The West pushed its lead as high as 19 several times, including on Griffin's three-pointer to make it 88-69. The West led 124-112 going into the fourth quarter.
After 61 All-Star games, the East still leads the all-time series by a 37-24 margin...Durant led all players with 37 minutes and 23 seconds of court time...Bryant started the game in fourth place and also leapfrogged Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before topping Jordan's record...Orlando also played host in 1992 when Magic Johnson came out of retirement to win the MVP award...Bryant's nose was bloodied after a hard foul committed by Wade in the third quarter. Results of a CT scan after the game revealed that Bryant suffered a nasal fracture. He will be re-evaluated Monday when he returns to Los Angeles.
- WEST: 152
Feb 26 10:22 PM
- WEST: 124
End of 3rd
Feb 26 9:41 PM
- WEST: 88
Feb 26 8:39 PM
- WEST: 39
End of 1st
Feb 26 8:07 PM
- WEST: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Feb 26 7:44 PM
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