All-Star Grades: West
In the All-Star Game, Griffin is primarily a dunker. But what a dunker! Griffin briefly brought Lob City to the Big Easy, making 16 shots around the rim among his record 18 field goals. So even with a missed 3-pointer, Griffin shot 83 percent from the field.
Durant seemed motivated to win MVP, and for much of the night it looked like he might. He finished two points shy of Glen Rice's record for scoring in a half (24, later tied by Kyrie Irving) and threatened Wilt Chamberlain's game record of 42, but missed six of his eight shot attempts (all but one from downtown) in the final quarter.
Nine of Paul's 13 assists came in the first half, as he set up Griffin and Anthony Davis with a series of lobs to the rim. Paul also scored 11 points, giving his old stomping grounds the chance to play the Ric Flair "Woo!" sound effect that once accompanied baskets Paul scored for the then-Hornets.
In limited action, Davis showed a hometown crowd a taste of his tantalizing skills, finishing lobs and making a jumper while contesting shots and coming up with a steal at the other end.
It took Howard 13 minutes to grab a game-high 11 rebounds. Putbacks accounted for most of Howard's eight points, since he missed a long jumper with a foot on the line. Give him credit for three assists, including a touch pass to LaMarcus Aldridge.
With Griffin doing work down low, Love was mostly content to hang out on the perimeter. Seven of his 11 shot attempts came from 3-point range, and he missed five of them. Love did grab a game-high eight defensive rebounds.
Lillard's strengths and weaknesses were on display in his nine minutes of action. All nine of Lillard's points came on 3s (one from 27 feet), as he missed both his attempts inside the arc.
For one night, Curry was mortal as a shooter. He missed his first four attempts and finished 2-of-11 beyond the arc; per Basketball-Reference.com, Curry has missed more than nine 3s in a real game only twice in his career. Curry helped make up for it with 11 assists, including an alley-oop lob from the backcourt.
For whatever reason, Aldridge's style just isn't built for the All-Star Game. He shot 2-of-9, bringing him to 4-of-16 in three career appearances.
Parker made a couple of layups but was otherwise content to let his younger teammates take the spotlight with the West's second unit.
If not for two missed jumpers and a rebound, you couldn't prove that Nowitzki was even in the All-Star Game. The only player still scoreless at halftime, Nowitzki did not play in the second half.
Harden took a back seat to the West's other stars, attempting just seven shots in 24 minutes. When Harden did stand out, it was by fouling Paul George in the act of shooting a 3 late in the game. The West never led again.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Aldridge's 46 lead Blazers by Rockets in OT
- Heat use late charge, top Bobcats in Game 1
- Nene, Wiz rally past Bulls for Game 1 victory
- Duncan, Spurs rally past Mavs in Game 1