Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

MVP Paul leads West to NBA All-Star win

HOUSTON — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Kobe Bryant turned this West victory into an L.A. story.

Paul had 20 points, 15 assists and won MVP honors, Bryant blocked LeBron James' comeback attempt, and the Western Conference beat the East 143-138 Sunday night.

Kevin Durant scored 30 and Griffin 19, joining his Clippers teammate, Paul, in creating Lob City in the heart of Texas.

James scored 19 but shot only 7-of-18, with Lakers star Bryant blocking two of his shots late. Carmelo Anthony led the East with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

On Michael Jordan's 50th birthday, the All-Stars threw down plenty of jams reminiscent of MJ's glory days.

The first dunk came 16 seconds in, Paul throwing a pass to Griffin as part of a 7-0 start. The West led after each of the first three quarters, though never by more than eight until early in the fourth.

The West couldn't put it away until a late run behind the guys from the city of Los Angeles — who with Lakers center Dwight Howard gave the city all but one of the West's starting spots.

Paul hit two 3-pointers, Bryant made a layup, and his block of James led to Durant's dunk that made it 136-126. Griffin had one last forceful dunk, throwing a pass to himself off the backboard and climbing high in his neon green sneakers to slam it home and make it 142-134.

Harden had 15 points in his home arena, where the sights of the game were on the floor and the sounds were at the rim — which shook repeatedly after thunderous dunks.

Players' sneakers were a variety of pastels and fluorescent colors, many clashing so badly with multicolored socks that they might as well have been created by spilling out random paint buckets. James and Dwyane Wade wore purple, and Griffin's neon look was also sported by the usually not-so-loud Tim Duncan and Brook Lopez.

But the NBA's high-flyers sure could leap in them.

Durant slammed one down so hard at one point that he stumbled backward after landing, appearing woozy. He came in as the career leader in points per game in his All-Star career with 28.3 and might have won a second straight MVP award if not for Paul's big finish.

The Bryant-James duel down the stretch was a good one between the two players who are most often compared to Jordan.

"It was all in good spirit, man. It was just two guys that love to compete, love to go at it. So I had a lot of fun," James said.

Bryant finished with only nine points but had eight assists.

EAST ALL-STARS (138): James 7-18 2-4 19, Bosh 3-9 0-0 6, Garnett 0-2 0-0 0, Wade 10-13 0-0 21, Anthony 8-14 7-9 26, Chandler 2-5 3-3 7, Irving 6-11 0-0 15, Deng 4-10 1-1 10, George 7-13 0-0 17, Noah 4-7 0-0 8, Holiday 3-6 0-0 6, Lopez 0-1 3-4 3. Totals 54-109 16-21 138.

WEST ALL-STARS (143): Durant 13-24 1-1 30, Griffin 9-11 1-2 19, Howard 4-6 0-0 9, Paul 7-10 2-3 20, Bryant 4-9 1-2 9, Duncan 1-4 0-0 2, Parker 5-10 2-2 13, Harden 6-13 0-0 15, Randolph 3-6 0-0 6, Westbrook 7-13 0-0 14, Aldridge 0-2 0-0 0, Lee 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 62-112 7-10 143.

East All-Stars 26 39 39 34— 138

West All-Stars 31 38 39 35— 143

3-Point GoalsEast 14-39 (George 3-6, Irving 3-6, Anthony 3-7, James 3-7, Wade 1-2, Deng 1-5, Lopez 0-1, Holiday 0-2, Bosh 0-3), West 12-32 (Paul 4-5, Harden 3-8, Durant 3-8, Howard 1-1, Parker 1-3, Duncan 0-1, Westbrook 0-3, Bryant 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsEast 61 (Anthony 12), West 52 (Howard 7). AssistsEast 33 (Wade 7), West 39 (Paul 15). Total FoulsEast 10, West 14. A16,101 (18,023).

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