For the past couple NBA seasons, NBA fans have eagerly anticipated a Finals showdown between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. While last night’s All-Star Game wasn’t exactly for the Trophy, you couldn’t tell by looking at the demeanor of the game’s two best players. Both stars had performances for the ages, but it was the Black Mamba who would strike last. Holding off a late charge by the East, the West pulled away late to win 148-143.
With the hot hand early, Kobe put the Western All-Stars in control from the jump. By halftime, Kobe had netted 21 points and the West led by 12 points. The 13-time All-Star “slowed down” in the second half, managing “just” 16 points, bringing him to 37 and five points shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s game record of 42. Bryant also recorded 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals on his way to being named MVP for a record-tying fourth time.
As great as Kobe was, LeBron certainly made it interesting late. With a sense of pride and urgency, LeBron turned the volume up, urging to his team that this “felt like a road game.” Showing how much the game meant to him, LeBron accomplished something that only one other player had done in an All-Star Game – mess around and get a triple-double. LeBron scored 29 points, pulled down 12 boards and dished out 10 assists in a big rally effort from the East. The only other player to have a triple-double in the All-Star Game? It starts with M and ends with ichael Jordan.
Other sensational performers in the All-Star game were forwards Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin Durant. Stoudemire racked up 29 points and six rebounds for the East, while Durant scored the quietest 34 points you’ve ever seen. In fact, while Kobe was brilliant, it was Durant’s clutch shooting at the end that really put the game away for the West.
The game, which seemed to be heading for “dud” territory after the first half, proved exactly why the NBA has the best All-Star celebration. They have the best skills competitions, best musical performances and the All-Star Game typically becomes competitive at a point. The LeBron vs. Kobe duel on Sunday night was a great closing chapter in another successful All-Star Weekend for the NBA.
Here’s a comprehensive look at what every All-Star wore in Sunday’s game.
Al Horford tries to block Manu Ginobili in the Nike Air Max Fly By.
Amar’e Stoudemire finally ditches the Zoom Huarache Trainer, instead wearing a Nike Air Max Fly By PE for the game.
Blake Griffin greets the legendary Bill Russell while debuting the Nike Hyperdunk 2011 on the court.
Carmelo Anthony shoots in the All-Star colorway of his Jordan Melo M7.
Chris Bosh goes up strong in the Nike Air Max Hyperdunk 2010.
Chris Paul looks to make a play in the All-Star Jordan CP3.IV.
Deron Williams goes in for a layup wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low.
Derrick Rose wore the All-Star adidas adiZero Rose in the first half of the game …
… and then switched into the adidas adiZero Rose 1.5 for the second half.
Dirk Nowitzki attempts a layup in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Dwight Howard, wearing the All-Star adidas Superbeast, has the Bieber Fever.
Dwyane Wade with a picture-perfect dunk in the Air Jordan 2011.
The Eastern Conference starters all do LeBron’s signature chalk toss.
Joe Johnson shoots in the Jordan Evolution ’85.
Kevin Durant shoots wearing the All-Star Nike Zoom KD III.
Kevin Garnett celebrates the East’s rally in the All-Star ANTA KG1.
Kevin Love shoots in the PEAK Relentless.
Kobe Bryant with the reverse jam in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI All-Star.
LeBron James looking to make a play in the All-Star Nike Air Max LeBron 8 V/2.
Manu Ginobili attempts a reverse layup in the Nike Air Max Fly By.
Pau Gasol shoots in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Paul Pierce lays it up in an All-Star colorway of his Nike Air Legacy 2.
Rajon Rondo blows past Gasol in the Nike Max Air BB 360 Low All-Star.
Ray Allen dribbles in a Player Exclusive colorway of the Air Jordan 2011.
Russell Westbrook shows off his hops in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.
Tim Duncan defends LeBron in the adidas adiPure.
Western Conference All-Stars
Eastern Conference All-Stars
images via ESPN