Sunday, February 13, 2011
Updated: February 21, 1:05 AM ET
2011 NBA All-Star Game Scorecard: West All-Stars
Grades by Kevin Arnovitz
2011 NBA All-Star
Melo was booed early when he passed up an opportunity for a breakaway slam, and opted for a garden-variety lay-in. That sequence was a metaphor for his overall effort, which ranged from lackadaisical to preoccupied with whatever else he has planned for Sunday night.
The hometown vet staked his claim to the MVP award in the opening minutes and never let up. He earned the first extended gasp from the crowd on his baseline drive and slam early, just two of his game-high 37 points. By taking home his fourth All-Star MVP trophy, Bryant ties Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history.
There's absolutely nothing in Duncan's temperament that embraces an All-Star Game and that was evident again this year. At one point, he collected a rebound underneath, but rather than go up for a putback, he just kicked it out to the perimeter.
Durant scored 25 points in the second half and 34 overall and it appeared for a minute or two as if his total output might overtake Kobe's. A rhythm shooter, Durant had a tough time early getting comfortable in the flow, but found his shot and then some.
He might not be as graceful in an improvisational setting like the All-Star Game, but Gasol was every bit as efficient. His stat line was positively Gasol-like: 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, and he blocked Rose inside with the game on the line.
Gregg Popovich gave him 21 minutes, during which Manu scored seven points and doled out five assists. We saw traces of the Eurostep, but against a permissive All-Star defense, splitting the defenders just doesn't have the same effect.
Chants of "We Want Blake!" rained down on the Staples Center floor in the fourth quarter. Though Griffin played only 14 minutes, he treated the audience to three dunks, the most freakish of which occurred when he skied high to collect a lob from Deron Williams in the first quarter.
Keeping with All-Star norms, Popovich favored the vets over the young guys and Love didn't have much of a chance to make an impact during his 12 minutes, scoring only a single bucket while collecting four rebounds.
Is it possible Dirk's first miss of the game is the only air ball of his professional career? The frenetic pace of this game was inhospitable to Dirk's stellar game because there wasn't anybody on the floor looking for a 7-footer coming off a pindown.
He didn't fill up the box score, but watching CP3 sling passes all over floor was a true highlight. With his momentum taking him away from the play, Paul set up Durant on the most gravitationally improbable alley-oop of the night. His floater at the halftime buzzer was also a thrill.
The OKC guard was the portrait of how to play an All-Star Game -- always looking to start a play or finish it. If there was a way to stylize a move, Westbrook put his signature on it. He charted serious aerial distance on a breakaway dunk, then later unleashed a crossover on Wade, then stepped back and knocked down a J.
The numbers aren't impressive (five points on 2-for-7 shooting, with seven assists), but D-Will played this game with the same stubborn intensity he shows in a regular-season tilt. He also had the prettiest dish of the first quarter when he hit Gasol on the move.