Kobe Bryant earns MVP, Kevin Durant adds 34 points in West's NBA All-Star win

By BRIAN MAHONEY , AP Basketball Writer Published: February 20, 2011
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Bryant denied gaining extra motivation from seeing the two rivals, both of whom already won at Staples Center this season. But he was clearly into the game from the start, driving for a couple of strong dunks or knocking down jumpers when defenders gave him room.

The crowd of entertainers included Beyonce and Jay-Z, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jack Nicholson, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Justin Bieber — who was called Justin “Berber” by the public address announcer while mentioning the teen star's MVP performance in the celebrity game on Friday.

Perhaps trying too hard to impress the stars surrounding them, there were errant passes and shaky shooting in the early minutes. The West got it right in the final minute of the first quarter, with rookie star Blake Griffin of the Clippers catching an alley-oop pass from Deron Williams for one of his powerful dunks — though not quite the degree of difficulty as his slam while leaping over the hood of a car Saturday to win the dunk contest.

The game was a welcome diversion from the Anthony talk and the troubling labor situation that threatens the league. Next year's game is scheduled for Orlando, but nobody can be sure it will be played. The owners and players' association met Friday to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires June 30. Though it was described as a positive meeting, there was also no progress made, and the sides have a significant gap to close in order to prevent a work stoppage.

Chris Bosh scored 14 points, Allen had 12, and Derrick Rose and Joe Johnson finished with 11 apiece for the East.

Russell Westbrook, who played at UCLA, scored 12 points and Chris Paul added 10 for the West.

Following a pregame performance by rocker Lenny Kravitz a tandem talc toss by James and the rest of the East starters, Bryant scored 11 points in the first quarter. The West led 76-64 at halftime.

NOTES: Not all Celtics get booed in Los Angeles. Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who this week became the first person from the NBA to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, received a standing ovation when his honor was announced during the second quarter. … The record of 14 straight All-Star selections is shared by Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone. … Dolph Schayes was honored for scoring the first points in the first All-Star game 60 years ago.



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