The Eastern Conference may have the defending NBA Champs, but the All-Star Game in the last three seasons has belonged to the West.
This year’s game, like most All-Star Games, was played with little to no defense, as seen by the total points scored in each quarter by both teams: 57, 77, 78 and 69. In the second quarter, the East shot 61% from the field and the West shot 63%.
It was mostly competitive throughout, with the lead changing 22 times – the East leading by as much as two points and the West getting ahead by as much as 11. In the end, however, despite the East attempting to make a run at the win after back-to-back three pointers by Paul George, the West still managed to hold for the victory, 138-143
Chris Paul – Infuriating, though it was, to watch CP3 and not still dream of what could’ve been, it’s hard to deny just how amazing he is. 20 points on 7-10 from the field, 15 assists and four steals – Most-Valuable Player honors were well-deserved.
Kevin Durant – The reigning All-Star MVP may have been passed over in favor of Chris Paul, but Durant hardly disappointed. 30 points on 13-24 from the field (the most FGs attempted in the game), six rebounds, a pair of steals and some of the most spectacular dunks in the game. Rest assured, the All-Star Game MVP in 2012 will not be his last.
Kobe Bryant – Bryant’s All-Star Resume reads as follows: Youngest Slam Dunk Champion at 18 years old 169 days, 15 All-Star Game appearances (tied with Kevin Garnett for the second most appearances, just below Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 18), a starter in every appearance, four-time MVP and leading scorer in NBA All-Star history. In his 15th appearance, it’s hard to imagine still having a love and desire to perform in a game that doesn’t mean anything to your team, but Bryant doesn’t discern between what matters and what doesn’t. When it comes to competition, he’s in it to win it. His stat line tonight isn’t a standout – nine points on 7-9, four rebounds, eight assists (second on the team behind CP3’s 15), two steals and two blocks – but in the last few minutes of the game, he played the closer on the unexpected side of the court. Bryant took to guarding Lebron James in the finals minutes as a personal duty, much like he does in every game. In the last three minutes of the final quarter, with the East seemingly potting a comeback, Bryant stole the ball from James and blocked him on two other occasions to seal the win.
Chris Bosh – All three Miami Heat players on the Eastern Conference team started and Bosh did the absolute least from the big three. He went 3-9 from the field for his six points (including an airball), grabbed two rebounds, had three turnovers, and fell victim to between the legs passes from Chris Paul and Tony Parker, not to mention a nasty crossover from Bryant. He was a -14 overall, the lowest +/- in the game. It’s baffling why he was chosen to be an All-Star at all.
Dwight Howard – In limited playing time (14:11 minutes), Howard managed to score nine points and grab seven rebounds; which is about what he does for the Lakers often this season. With back and shoulder injuries with which to contend, this is all Howard could contribute as his first (and possibly last) All-Star Appearance as a Laker.
There goes another All-Star weekend in the books, and from this point, the season tends to pass significantly more quickly than before the break, and the trade rumors and transactions will occupy a great amount of time between now and the deadline (February 21st). Hold on to your favorite players in your imagination, fans. They may not be there on February 22nd.