West fends off late rally for All-Star win

Kobe outfoxes younger stars for 4th MVP trophy

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant brought his NBA finals focus to the All-Star game.

And just like June, he walked off his home floor with the MVP trophy in his hands.

Shining brightest again among the stars, Bryant brought Showtime back to the All-Star game, scoring 37 points and tying a record with his fourth MVP award in the Western Conference’s 148-143 victory over the East on Sunday night.

“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.”

Returning to the game he dominates after a one-year absence, Bryant added 14 rebounds in a spectacular performance in front of the usual celebrity-filled crowd that turns out to see his Lakers at Staples Center.

“It was like playing in a playground. It was like a pickup game almost,” Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant said. “Just to watch it, I see it on TV all the time, I play against him all the time. But to be on his team and see the things that he was doing out there is just amazing.”

Durant chipped in 34 points, scoring five straight after the East cut a 17-point deficit after three quarters to two points with 2:34 to play. The NBA scoring leader added the clinching free throws after the East got back within three in the final seconds.

LeBron James powered the East rally, finishing with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to join Michael Jordan as the only players with a triple-double in the All-Star game. Amare Stoudemire also scored 29, but Miami’s Dwyane Wade, the MVP of the East’s win last year, had to leave with an ankle injury after scoring 14.

Wade said he rolled the ankle he originally hurt in a loss at Boston last week. He was hoping James would pull it out without him.

“I wish the East would’ve won, then my teammate with the triple-double would’ve stole (the MVP),” Wade said. “But (Bryant) deserved it.”

Plenty of Hollywood giants were sitting courtside, but Bryant’s popularity here can rival most of them. This week, he became the first athlete to have his handprints and footprints put in concrete outside Hollywood’s famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

He told fans to “enjoy the show” before the tip, and as always he delivered a good one.

Always more about focus than fun, Bryant had 21 points by the time Rihanna came out for her halftime performance, putting him halfway to Wilt Chamberlain’s record from 1962, the year of his 100-point game.

Bryant missed last year’s game in Dallas with an ankle injury.

“You could tell he started out from the start, he wanted to get the MVP,” Stoudemire said. “He was not passing the ball, at all. But that’s Kobe.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player