Sunday , Feb , 18 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bryant leads West to easy All-Star game win

Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, dished out six
assists and had six steals to lead the West to an easy 153-132 win over the
East in the 56th annual All-Star Game at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Bryant was named the MVP of the contest for leading a West team that
registered an All-Star game record 52 assists and fell just two points short
of its own All-Star game record for points — 155 set in 2003.

Amare Stoudemire added 29 points and nine rebounds for the West, who snapped
a two-game skid in the event. Carmelo Anthony chipped in with 20 points and
nine boards, while Shawn Marion finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

LeBron James — who was the MVP in last year’s game — netted 28 points, six
rebounds and six assists for the East. Dwight Howard was a force inside in
his All-Star debut with 20 points and a game-high 12 boards, while Joe Johnson
had 12 points.

The opening quarter featured some sloppy play early but the West heated up
quickly. Anthony’s fade away jumper from the right corner gave them a 10-point
advantage, 35-25, with just over a minute to go in the stanza.

Less than 30 seconds later, Vince Carter provided a spark for the East and
electrified the crowd with a slam off a beautiful spin move but the West still
managed to keep a 39-31 advantage after the opening 12 minutes.

Carter continued to provide a show for the fans early in the second quarter,
taking a Chauncey Billups feed off the glass and depositing another slam.
But, it was the West establishing control in the frame. Dirk Nowitzki’s three,
with 9:44 remaining before the half, made it a 51-35 game.

The West continued to dominate the next few minutes. A 7-0 run, featuring
back-to-back layups by Nowitzki and Marion and a McGrady triple, gave the West
its first 20-point cushion, 59-39, with a little over seven minutes to go in
the second

The teams then traded baskets for the rest of the half and the West took a
79-59 edge into the locker room. Bryant led the West with 17 points on 8-of-14
shooting, while James paced the East with 16 points and shot 6-of-10 from the

The West continued to run away early in the third quarter. Ray Allen’s three,
with 4:08 left in the frame, gave the West a commanding 108-76 advantage.

Nowitzki then capped the scoring in the frame with a jumper to make it 119-88
heading into the final frame.

The East failed to make any kind of serious run in the fourth quarter. A
Dwyane Wade jumper cut the deficit to 25, 129-104, with 7:53 left in the game
but Bryant stemmed any momentum by draining a three 17 seconds later.

The Lakers’ star then got loose for a reverse dunk on the baseline and Marion
followed that with another reverse jam to extend the West’s advantage to
136-106 with 6:51 on the clock.

The West coasted to the finish line from there. Bryant capped his MVP
performance with a spinning slam with 30 seconds left.

Game Notes

This was the first All-Star game held outside an NBA franchise city…Bryant
captured his second All-Star MVP award. His first was in his hometown of
Philadelphia during the 2002 game…Wade’s follow shot in the lane with
16.6 seconds remaining rallied the East past the West, 122-120, at Houston’s
Toyota Center in last year’s game…The East still holds a commanding 35-21
advantage in the all-time series…New Jersey guard Jason Kidd was originally
named as a reserve to the East squad, however but was sidelined with a back
injury and did not play in the contest. Meanwhile, the Western Conference was
without ailing center Yao Ming and guards Steve Nash of the Suns and Denver’s
Allen Iverson…Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton entertained the crowd before the
game while the city’s nine time entertainer of the year Andy Gans sang the
National Anthem…Six-time Grammy winner Toni Braxton and Christina Aguilera
headlined the halftime show.