In a city packed with superstars in entertainment, the basketball’s top talent took center stage on Sunday night in the NBA All-Star Game. The West led big for most of the contest before the East pulled within two late in the fourth quarter. In the end, the West pulled out a 148-143 win. Here’s my wrap-up of the evening:
KOBE STEALS THE SHOW
It was clear from the first quarter on that Kobe Bryant really wanted to win the MVP of the game. He was looking for his shot more than other players, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. Bryant finished the game with 37 points and 14 rebounds, winning his record-tying fourth All-Star MVP award.
FANS GET THEIR BLAKE
Rookies don’t get much playing time in the All-Star Game, and Blake Griffin was no exception. He had played only a few minutes through the first three quarters. But when the hometown LA fans began chanting, “We want Blake!” West coach Gregg Popovich put him in the game. Griffin finished with eight points in 15 minutes.
LACK OF SHAQ
The one thing that was missing from the game was the presence of Shaquille O’Neal. The 15-time All-Star hasn’t been selected to the team in the past two seasons. Shaq always brought a fun element to the All-Star Game, whether it was from dancing during pre-game introductions or goofing off during the contest. It will be awhile before the NBA sees another big personality like his.
D-WADE ON CRUISE CONTROL
Dwyane Wade wasn’t a big factor in the game. He only played 20 minutes and scored 14 points. “I got [the MVP] last year, so I was on chill mode this year,” Wade said afterward. “ I tweaked my ankle a little bit and I really was on cruise control. I enjoyed my view from the bench. I’m not one of those guys who goes for [the MVP] every year. I pick and choose when I turn up the volume.”
NO HEATED RIVALRY FOR BOSH
After the game, Chris Bosh was asked whether it was weird hanging out with Boston Celtic players whom he has battles against in the regular season. “No, it’s not weird,” said Bosh. “Everyone’s competitive, but we don’t carry that competitiveness off the court. Guys just want to hang around, crack some jokes, and have a good time.
Bosh reflected on the whirlwind weekend. “I’m not going to lie— it was tiring,” he said. “But all in all, we all enjoy being All-Stars. Nobody takes it for granted. Even though I may complain when I’m not getting any rest or any sleep, at the end of the day we look back on it and it’s still a good time. It’s a lot of fun being here. I appreciate it.