MVP Bryant's 37 repels James' bid

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, on right knocking the ball from the Heat’s Dwyane Wade, scores 37 to lead the West to victory.

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The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, on right knocking the ball from the Heat’s Dwyane Wade, scores 37 to lead the West to victory.

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant won his record-tying fourth All-Star game MVP award to the delight of his hometown fans, scoring 37 and propelling the West to a 148-143 victory over the East in the NBA's midseason showcase Sunday night.

The Lakers' veteran guard put on another show among stars at the 60th All-Star Game, also grabbing 14 rebounds and overcoming LeBron James' triple double for the East.

Clearly pushing for another trophy against an East roster stacked with rival Celtics and Heat, Bryant matched Bob Pettit's NBA record with his fourth MVP award in just 10 years.

"Being at home, I wanted to come out and play hard, put on a good show," Bryant, 32, said. "This will be my last All-Star Game in front of these home fans, so it feels good to be here."

Although the protracted courtship of West starter Carmelo Anthony dominated much of the All-Star weekend discussion, Bryant gave the Los Angeles crowd another memory to go with Clippers rookie Blake Griffin's dunk contest win Saturday.

James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the East, but Miami teammate Dwyane Wade limped off in the third quarter. Wade finished with 14 points.

Bryant didn't score in the final 6:48, falling short of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star Game record of 42 points in 1962.

Bryant won the All-Star MVP trophy in 2002 and 2007 before sharing it with Shaquille O'Neal in 2009. Pettit won four MVP awards with the St. Louis Hawks from 1956-62.

NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant had 34 points for the West, and New York's Amare Stoudemire had 29 for the East.

The West maintained a steady lead against an East team with a combined seven players from Boston and Miami, arguably the top contenders to replace the back-to-back champion Lakers.

Back-to-back baskets by Amare Stoudemire and James trimmed the margin to 142-140 in the final moments. Bryant then missed a jumper, but Lakers teammate Pau Gasol tipped home the rebound.

After two free throws by Chris Paul, Boston's Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds left, but Durant finished it with two free throws.

Anthony had eight points and seven rebounds in less than 23 minutes as a West starter — and perhaps the NBA's most hottest property was distracted.

Wooing 'Melo: The Nets still believe they are in the race for Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, and if not, owner Mikhail Prokhorov believes they at least made it harder for the Knicks.

The Knicks' upper management of team president Donnie Walsh, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan and coach Mike D'Antoni insisted in a statement Sunday that they are on the same page in their pursuit of Anthony, and that former executive Isiah Thomas, despite reports, isn't involved.

Prokhorov told CNBC he had a "fantastic" meeting with Anthony on Saturday. The Russian billionaire had pulled the Nets out of talks last month and had originally said he would not meet with Anthony.

"My instinct was to stay away, and I still think that is (the) right decision," Prokhorov said. "But when the meeting was fixed, (Nets GM) Billy King called me and said, 'We need you.' I was convinced and I still think I'm right to stay away, but we have teamwork so sometimes we need to be all together."

Even if the Nets can't get an agreement from Anthony to sign an extension to set up the trade, Prokhorov sees value in a return to the trade talks.

"I think we made a very good tactical decision to force (the) Knicks to pay as much as they can," Prokhorov said.

West 148

East 143

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MVP Bryant's 37 repels James' bid 02/20/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 12:49am]

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