Kobe Bryant netted 37 points while collecting 14 rebounds to lead the Western Conference to a 148-143 victory in Sunday’s All-Star contest, claiming MVP rights for the fourth time in front of his home crowd at the Staples Center. “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,” said Bryant. “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.”
The West kept in control through the majority of the game until LeBron James surged the East back in the fourth block. James finished 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. Amar’e Stoudemire also produced 29 points for the East from 11-of-20 shooting. Kevin Durant followed up Bryant’s 37 points with 34 of his own for the West, adding the clinching free throws after the East pulled within three in the final seconds.
Carmelo Anthony added eight points in what could be his final game representing the Western Conference. The New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets are currently trying strike a deal with the Denver Nuggets, hoping to land the 4X All-Star before the February 24th trade deadline. Anthony was able to enjoy the weekend despite the recent media attention, saying “at times, it can be tough, but it’s fun at the same time.”