Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

West sends Bryant out a winner

TORONTO — Russell Westbrook scored 31 to earn his second straight All-Star MVP, and the Western Conference set an All-Star record for points with a 196-173 victory over the East on Sunday.

Kobe Bryant scored 10 on 4-of-11 shooting while playing in his 18th and final All-Star Game. Chris Paul had 14 points and 16 assists for the West. Bryant left the game to a standing ovation with 1:06 to play.

Pacers forward Paul George led all scorers with 41 points for the East, one off Wilt Chamberlain's record set in 1962.

The high for points had been 163, done twice. The West surpassed that with about eight minutes to play in the game.

But the night was all about Bryant.

First came a pregame tribute that included two videos.

With the NBA calling his career brilliant, there was first a video that showed clips of some of Bryant's best moments — starting with his draft-night selection, an array of dunks, a famous lob to Shaquille O'Neal in a playoff win over the Trail Blazers, some winning shots, his defensive intensity and even some images of his Olympic play.

And yes, there was a mention of his 81-point game against Toronto, probably to the dismay of the home crowd.

After the first video, Magic Johnson took the microphone to laud Bryant even further and eventually introduce a second tape of Bryant's moments, with the retiring Lakers great narrating parts of it and other All-Stars offering him words of thanks.

Bryant then addressed the crowd as they chanted his name at a deafening level. He said he has "been extremely fortunate to play the game I love and be in the NBA for more than half my life."

He ended his remarks by saying, "Thank you so much — and now I've got to go get loose."

Before the game, Warriors star Stephen Curry told Bryant that he planned to accumulate a ton of assists by feeding the ball to Bryant as often as possible. Bryant essentially advised Curry to pump the brakes.

"You're going to pass the ball at the All-Star Game?" Bryant, 37, recalled telling Curry. "Are you crazy?"

Bryant still delights in the public's adoration, But he seemed aware that the spotlight would find him regardless of what he was capable of doing on the court — which, this season, has been far less than it once was.

"You get a chance to enjoy it a little bit after having 19 years where you're just completely, completely focused and immersed in competition," he said. "To have one year where you relax and soak it in feels good."

West 196, East 173

WEST: Bryant 4-11 1-2 10, Leonard 8-15 0-0 17, Durant 11-18 0-0 23, Westbrook 12-23 0-0 31, Curry 10-18 0-0 26, Thompson 3-11 0-0 9, Harden 8-14 0-0 23, Davis 12-13 0-0 24, Paul 5-7 0-0 14, Aldridge 2-8 0-0 4, Green 2-6 0-0 4, Cousins 5-5 0-0 11. Totals 82-149 1-2 196.

EAST: James 6-13 0-0 13, George 16-26 0-0 41, Anthony 6-11 0-0 13, Lowry 5-13 0-0 14, Wade 4-7 0-0 8, DeRozan 9-15 0-1 18, Wall 10-14 0-0 22, Millsap 1-6 0-0 3, Thomas 4-11 0-0 9, Gasol 3-7 3-4 9, Drummond 8-11 0-0 16, Horford 3-3 0-0 7. Totals 75-137 3-5 173.

West All-Stars 40 52 53 51— 196

East All-Stars 43 47 46 37— 173

3-Point GoalsWest All-Stars 31-80 (Harden 7-12, Westbrook 7-17, Curry 6-13, Paul 4-6, Thompson 3-10, Cousins 1-1, Bryant 1-5, Leonard 1-6, Durant 1-8, Green 0-1, Aldridge 0-1), East All-Stars 20-59 (George 9-19, Lowry 4-12, Wall 2-4, Horford 1-1, Millsap 1-2, Thomas 1-5, Anthony 1-5, James 1-5, Drummond 0-1, Wade 0-1, Gasol 0-1, DeRozan 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsWest All-Stars 65 (Westbrook 8), East All-Stars 67 (Drummond 13). AssistsWest All-Stars 51 (Paul 16), East All-Stars 34 (Lowry 10). Total FoulsWest All-Stars 8, East All-Stars 8. A18,298 (19,800).

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