Monday , Feb , 16 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Duncan and Shaq lead West to All-Star win

=== Duncan and Shaq lead West to All-Star win ===

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – San Antonio’s Tim Duncan scored the go-
ahead points with just 26.1 seconds remaining and finished with 14 points, 13
rebounds and five assists to lead the West over the East, 136-132, in the 53rd
All-Star Game at the Staples Center.

But it was the Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal who walked off the court with the Most
Valuable Player Trophy. O’Neal, who shared the award in 2000 with Duncan,
tallied a game-high 24 points and 11 boards.

“I just wanted to come out and have a good time,” O’Neal said. “I said to
myself if it is going good and no one is really shining that I am going to go
ahead and go for it. So toward the third and fourth quarters I got a few dunks
and a few buckets.”

O’Neal’s Los Angeles teammate Kobe Bryant, who showed up late for the game,
added 20 points for the West, which has won three straight and four of the
last five All-Star contests.

“I was just trying to win the game,” Bryant said. “Things were competitive and
I had an opportunity to keep my team in the game and that’s what I tried to
do. The West has bragging rights still, it felt good to get the win.”

First-time All-Star Jamaal Magloire of New Orleans scored 19 points and
grabbed eight boards for the East, which still lead the all-time series,

Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal added 16 points and nine rebounds, but the East
struggled from the foul line, making only 11-of-22 of its free throws.

With the East ahead by one, Duncan received the ball down low in the post,
turned around and banked the ball off the glass into the hoop to put the West
in front 133-132 with just 26.1 seconds left.

“I was just one of the options,” said Duncan of his go-ahead bucket. “Shaq was
the first one, Ray [Allen] was the second one and I was kind of the third

On the ensuing possession the East gave the ball to Tracy McGrady of the
Magic, but he failed to get a shot to the rim as Shaquille O’Neal stepped up
in the lane on defense. Ray Allen of Seattle came up with the loose ball.

The East was then forced to foul Allen, who made one-of-two free throws to
extend the margin to 135-132 for the West. Allen and Houston’s Yao Ming each
scored 16 points.

Milwaukee guard Michael Redd had a chance to tie it for the East, but missed a
three-pointer with four seconds to play and Duncan hit one-of-two foul shots
with 2.1 seconds left to seal the victory for the West.

“I had a great opportunity to knock that shot down, but it just didn’t fall,”
Redd said. “For coach (Rick) Carlisle to call on me for the last-second shot,
that says a lot, man.”

The West turned the ball over 24 times, but shot 57 percent from the field and
pulled down 52 rebounds.

The MVP in last year’s All-Star Game, Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett recorded 12
points, seven rebounds and six helpers in this one for the West.

“You’re there to entertain and to perform,” said Garnett. “We had the biggest
mismatch in the league and that was Shaquille O’Neal. So every time I had a
chance, I gave him the ball.”

For the East, Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson only netted three points, but
dished out a game-high 11 assists as he was voted to the starting lineup for
the fifth straight season.

New Jersey’s Kenyon Martin came off the bench and posted 17 points and seven
rebounds for the East in his All-Star debut.

Magloire gave the East its first lead of the game with just two-tenths of a
second left in the first quarter on a bucket in the paint for a 33-31 edge.

Fourteen of the 15 field goal in the opening frame for the East came with
assists, including a pass off the backboard from Iverson that resulted in a
monster slam by Toronto’s Vince Carter.

Carter, the game’s leading vote-getter, scored 11 points in 16 minutes.

The East never trailed in the second quarter and led by as many as nine in the
frame before taking a 64-58 lead into the intermission. Magloire led all
first-half scorers with 12 points, while Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal each
netted eight apiece for the West.

“(Shaquille O’Neal) is not your typical big man,” Bryant said. “He can handle
the ball and do a lot of creative things on the perimeter. He had an
incredible game today.”

To no surprise, the referees let the All-Stars play as the West failed to get
to the free throw line in the first half. The East only attempted four shots
from the charity stripe in the first 24 minutes.

Also like expected, the entertainment level was high as the first half
consisted of 22 slam dunks.

“The game was really the kind of game we wanted it to be in the first half,”
said East head coach Rick Carlisle of Indiana.

The West picked up the intensity level a bit in the third and took a 103-101
edge into the final stanza. Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko just beat the third
quarter horn with a powerful dunk for the go-ahead points.

Sacramento’s Brad Miller left the game in the fourth quarter for the West with
an ankle injury, but it doesn’t appear to be serious.

The All-Star Game returned to LA for the first time since 1983, when the
contest was played at the Great Western Forum. This was the first time in four
years that a Western Conference city has hosted this event.

Next year’s game is in Denver.