Now I had no plans on writing anything about the NBA All Star game that took place this past weekend as it is very hard to take anything from what is not a proper basketball game however...
From the very first tip of the ball, there was little to complain about as far as effort goes. It was a competitive game and while there were no hard fouls there was a good, if not great, effort on defense. It was a game that certainly lived up to it's billing.
Kobe Bryant set the tone early on his way to a 4th MVP title,"I feel like we have a sense of responsibility and we are voted in for what we do during the season, which is play hard," Bryant said. "And we come here, that's what the fans want to see. They want to see us go at it and see us compete and that's what I try to do and that's what I try to tell my teammates to do."
Bryant scored 37 points and added 14 rebounds with 3 steals and 3 assists tacked on. He easily outplayed the aggressive Dwayne Wade,"It feels great, being at home here and playing in front of the home crowd," Bryant said after receiving the MVP trophy. "This will be my last All-Star game in front of these home fans, so it feels good to do it."
Lebron James was the driving force behind the East team as ESPN's microphones caught James riling his team up early on and looking to motivate them when the West jumped out to an early lead. James determination in this game must have made Dan Snyder sick when he thinks of Lebron's last game in Cleveland, an underwhelming loss to the Celtics in the playoffs, when he didn't seem to care. He cared last night!
James became only the second ever player to record a triple double in the All Star game, Michael Jordan being the only previous player to manage that feat. He finished the game with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Jordan managed his triple double in 1997 recording 14 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. Neither player managed to win the MVP.
Bryant had put up 21 points by the time Rihanna took over the stage for the half time show. He was halfway to Wilt Chamberlain's record of 42 from 1962, the year Wilt scored 100 in a game. Intriguingly, Wilt's 42 was 9 points below his average for that season which tells you the kind of year that was.
The constantly focused shooting guard was dividing opinion among his competitors(and Dwight Howard; don't worry we'll get there). James was quick to praise the hometown MVP, "He was unbelievable tonight. You definitely saw his motor was going tonight."
"You could tell he started out from the start, he wanted to get the MVP," New York Knick and East All Star Amar'e Stoudemire said. "He was not passing the ball, at all. But that's Kobe."
Kobe's teammate Carmelo Anthony was probably the only man capable of garnering more attention than Bryant or James as the question marks surrounding his future with the Denver Nuggets continued. Melo, as he is known, was constantly questioned by the media which resulted in Kobe Bryant stepping in during a sideline interview to playfully, but effectively, interrupt a Craig Sager interview. Bryant and fellow teammate Russell Westbrook sabotaged Melo's interview which he was obviously thankful for proclaiming, "During this weekend I'm still having fun."
Fun? Look no further than Dwight Howard. Howard who has taken on a serious mantle throughout the season after years of being the NBA's biggest performer returned to his old self during this game. Before the game he led a team imitation of Lebron James famous chalk throwing with Lebron himself taking part. During the game he was routinely joking with those sitting at court-side or recommending footwear to the referees. Howard showed little interest in the actual game but obviously had fun.
Howard became the fifth member of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter as he took the floor alongside Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. Having four teammates on the floor at one time was an odd thing for the All Star game. Howard looked lost as his teammates ran their Celtic sets. This bench lineup showed the kind of quality on show as Rondo notched 8 assists and Allen had 12 points.
There are no small players in the All Star game but the so called secondary guys shone all night; Kevin Durant had 34 points including the free throws that closed the game out in the West's favor, Chris Paul had 10 points and 7 assists with 5 steals, Pau Gasol(17) and Russell Westbrook(12) combined for 29 points from the bench. For the West Amar'e Stoudemire scored 29 points while Chris Bosh shot 70% from the field.
Celtic great, and 11 time NBA champion, Bill Russell was honored during the game for being the first NBA player to receive a Presidential medal of Freedom. Russell was the only Celtic to not be booed from the Los Angeles crowd. Several players also approached Russell during breaks in play.
Bryant's 37 points is tied for 4th highest in a single NBA All Star game. His 14 rebounds makes it only the 5th time a player has had a 30-10 game in All Star history.
Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant became the second pair of teammates to score 30 points in a NBA All-Star Game. The others were Bob McAdoo (30 points) and Julius Erving (30 points) in 1977.
Tim Duncan was the only All Star to have played more than two years of college basketball.