LOS ANGELES CA - FEBRUARY 20: Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Western Conference and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference react in the second half of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20 2011 in Los Angeles California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
I'm not going to write a big recap of this game. What's the point? But I will throw some bullets out there:
Kobe Bryant pretty clearly wanted to win the MVP here in Staples Center, and when Kobe really wants something, he will rarely be denied. He took more than a fifth of his team's shots, and scored exactly one quarter of his team's points. That's in an All Star Game folks. He finished with a game high 37 points and a game high 14 rebounds.
LeBron James may have waited a bit too long before caring. He seemed disinterested for the first three quarters (though he still had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, which is pretty good for 'disinterested'). When he turned it on in the fourth, it may have been too late. He led the East back to within two a couple of times, but they never got a shot at a tying possession, as the West responded with buckets each time the lead shrunk to two.
Going in, I was actively wondering what Gregg Popovich would do with minutes distribution, in particularly concerning Blake Griffin. Would Griffin be given extra minutes in light of this being the Clippers' arena, or would Pop treat him more like a rookie and reserve? Well, it was the second. Griffin played fewer than 15 minutes in the game, which was in line with most of the other reserves, but one might have hoped that Popovich might have acceded to the popular will a bit more. The crowd actually went into a "We Want Blake" chant when the fourth quarter opened with Griffin still on the bench. It seemed to work, as Griffin soon checked in, but he was the last of the 24 All Stars to actually make a second half appearance, which kind of stunk.
I understand that Carmelo was voted in as a starter by the fans, but I'm not sure why Popovich felt compelled to play him down the stretch when he as having a terrible game. He didn't make a jump shot all evening, and looked pretty bad on most of them.
Neither team could make anything from deep. The East was 7 for 29, the West 9 for 31; both were below 30%. Ick. Durant was not discouraged by his 5 for 25 showing in the Three Point Shootout, putting up 11 of them tonight, but he did make 4. Durant also put up a ton of shots and scored a ton of points: 34 points, on 11 for 23 shooting.
We get back to actual NBA games on Tuesday in Oklahoma. For Griffin, the homecoming will be a continuation of a the media circus he's been facing this weekend. That dude is going to be completely exhausted before this settles down.
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