And so it begins… Even in an All-Star Game, LeBron can’t escape his demons. James and Kevin Durant turned this one into a duel, with Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade playing sidekick roles, and in the end, the West walked out of Orlando with a 152-149 win. Tons of offense. Tons of points. A close finish. A lot of eye candy, and enough dunks that we forgot all about Jeremy Evans and Paul George within the game’s first six minutes. Does it get any better? Durant and James both finished with 36 points – KD going off early; LeBron absolutely lighting it up from deep in the second half. Bryant did his thing as well with 27. But LeBron didn’t just back down from the moment. He backed down from Kobe to, who seemed to really want the red-hot James to go at him. Instead, James threw a Mark Sanchez on perhaps the game’s biggest possession. Bryant was fully into it, which is funny because not a half an hour later, they said Bryant would not be coming out to take questions because he was suffering from “headache problems.” Or maybe he just didn’t want to talk. That wouldn’t be the first time this weekend that’s happened … We weren’t sure how it looked on television, but when we saw Kobe jawing at someone on the East bench from the free-throw line in the closing moments, it took us all of two seconds to say “gotta be Paul Pierce.” Those two have a rivalry as long as Art Modell and Cleveland. Actually, Pierce admitted afterwards that he told the East to foul Bryant down the stretch because he remembered a similar situation barely a week ago where Kobe screwed up and missed one of two late. Then when it happened again, 24 stared him down all the way back to the bench as the Truth charged out to midcourt, celebrating as only Pierce can …
Bryant still got the last laugh with a win, and also the all-time All-Star Game scoring record. He broke Michael Jordan‘s record for most career points in the showcase with a tomahawk dunk, and somewhere, as we wrote in the live blog, Jordan is pissed. And gambling. And probably talking s— … Why isn’t anyone talking about Wade’s triple-double (24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 dimes)? It’s only the third one ever in the All-Star Game, doing it one year after LeBron had one and 15 years after MJ did. We’ll tell you why: Wade had no major highlights and no real memorable moments. In the third quarter, someone in the media section mentioned D-Wade had a shot at a trip-dub. We were genuinely surprised. That’s what happens in these showcase games – you miss things, like how Steve Nash only played five minutes … What was the best dunk of the night? LeBron’s windmill in the early stages, or Russell Westbrook‘s one-handed sledgehammer in the lane? … Durant was asked in the postgame about a potential OKC/Miami Finals and said, “You taking it down the line man. It’s too early for that.” Still, we’re drooling right now over that matchup. After all those years where we never got Kobe/LeBron, make it happen Stern … For now, before we write our official recap of the weekend, check out this photo gallery of the players from the weekend … As we mentioned in our live blog of the ASG, yesterday we were invited to a Jordan Brand open run. For those of you who have been following us for a while, you know we go to a lot of sneaker events and normally run with other media members. That’s what we figured would happen this time. To our surprise, no. Sean Sweeney balled a few pickup games on DJ Clue‘s squad, and they matched up with Jadakiss and his team. Someone should’ve told us those dudes can play. Kiss scored on Sweeney in the lane two or three times, all the while screaming for and-ones and talking junk to everyone. “This ain’t Chelsea!” was his go-to smack talk. Soon, everything became something other than “Chelsea.” A blown layup? “This ain’t Chelsea!” A turnover? “This ain’t Chelsea!” A trey? “This ain’t Chelsea!” We don’t think Clue said a word the whole game. On the other side (there were two courts), Wale was out there throwing the Shammgod on people. We’ll dive more into this when we post our weekend recap … We’re out like Jordan’s record.
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