HOUSTON — When you get four starters in an All-Star game from the same city, that’s a big advantage. And boy, did the West make the East stars pay for the third straight year.
The West stars shined the brightest in a 143-138 shootout in Houston. Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard were all voted as starters for the West.
They all play for the Los Angeles Lakers-Clippers, and all four made large contributions to the West’s win. Paul was the star of stars with 20 points, 15 assists and four steals. He was named the game’s MVP, although Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30.
Remember, Durant played his college ball at Texas in nearby Austin. When the announcement came that Paul was MVP, the partisan Houston crowd did not endorse the decision.
Paul, however, was sensational, as was Durant, but the three other Los Angeles starters also played very well: Griffin with 19 points; Kobe with nine points, eight rebounds, and some tough man-to-man defense on the East’s LeBron James. Howard with nine points and seven rebounds controlled the middle.
The NBA’s 62nd All-Star game was again a showcase of the world’s greatest basketball players. It was the third time the game was held in Houston. It was broadcast to 215 countries. The All-Star performers shined also: Alicia Keys, halftime John Legend, Ne-Yo, and Ludacris pre-game combined have won 29 Grammy Awards.
Overall, the NBA All-Star game is the best of the all-star games presented by the professional sports leagues: the NFL, NHL and MLB. The sheer star power of stars from the entertainment world that support this event make it the clear-cut winner. It’s a true celebration of the NBA, and everybody seems to share in it, players and fans alike.
This was the final All-Star game for NBA Commissioner David Stern. His remarkable leadership has guided the league from the depths of near failure to great growth and franchise stability.
Years ago, the NBA games were on tape delay on broadcast television. The players had a huge perceived drug problem. Stern’s leadership was able to save the league and restore credibility.
The entire weekend was not just all fun in the sun, however. After 17 years as director of the NBA Players Association, Billy Hunter was ousted, voted out by the executive committee of the NBAPA. He has been accused by the players of illegally misappropriating $5-7 million of union benefit funds.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.