Obnoxious Sports NBA All-Star Game: West wins behind Westbrook

Posted on February 23, 2015

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Mixing Broadway and basketball, this NBA All-Star Game was a West Side Story.
Russell Westbrook scored 41 points, one shy of the All-Star game record, and the Western Conference beat the East 163-158 on Sunday night.
The Oklahoma City speedster had a record 27 points by halftime and closed out the scoring with two free throws, falling one point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 points in the 1962 game. He was voted the game’s MVP.
The NBA’s return to New York showed off everything about the Big Apple, and by the time Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played after the game, it was clear Westbrook was king of the hill.
“It’s amazing. It’s a blessing to be here in New York City,” Westbrook said during the MVP ceremony.
James Harden added 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the West, which built a 20-point lead in the first half and then pulled away after it was tied at 148 with a little more than 4 minutes remaining.
LeBron James finished with 30 points, but couldn’t lead the East to a victory in his favorite NBA arena.
Harden’s 3-pointer snapped the final tie with 4:02 to play and Chris Paul followed with consecutive baskets. Westbrook’s fifth 3-pointer put it away at 158-149 with 2:22 to go.
Atlanta’s Kyle Korver made seven 3-pointers and scored 21 points for the East, while Washington’s John Wall had 19.
But right from the start, the players were sharing the stage.
Christina Aguilera appeared from behind a giant big apple, and belted out some New York-inspired numbers to start the show, joined on stage by the Rockettes.
Entertainment’s elite were all over the arena, with players hobnobbing with Jay-Z and Floyd Mayweather near their courtside seats at halftime. But the biggest roar came for a star from another sport – politics.
President Bill Clinton got a pair of loud ovations when he was shown during the national anthem.
Big brother Pau Gasol won the jump ball against Marc to begin the first All-Star game featuring sibling starters, but for a while it looked as if that would be the East’s only win of the night.
The West shot to a 20-point lead behind a record 27 first-half points from Westbrook, but the East chipped away and cut it to 83-82 before pop star Ariana Grande’s halftime performance.
It was 122-all after three and close throughout the fourth.
It was New York’s first time hosting the weekend since 1998 and a rare journey to the north for the NBA, which has preferred to stage the festivities in the warmth of the South and West.
Even some of the NBA’s most fashionable had to choose bundling up over dressing up, a concession to the frigid temperatures they faced during the weekend. But next year might be worse, when the game heads north of the border to Toronto.
Carmelo Anthony struggled to 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting for the East in what may have been his final game of the season. The Knicks star has been battling a sore knee for much of the season and may opt for surgery with the team owning the NBA’s worst record.
ALL-STAR CHALLENGERS: Slam-dunk champion Zach LaVine and 3-point champion Stephen Curry are welcoming all challengers for next year.
LaVine, the spry 19-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves rookie, already is encouraging teammate Andrew Wiggins to compete in the 2016 dunk contest.
The event will be held in Wiggins’ hometown of Toronto.
“I’m going to be talking a lot of mess to him to try to get him to join it,” LaVine said. “I’m looking forward to that. It gives me inspiration to make it next year. It gives me a lot of motivation.”
Wiggins helped LaVine win Saturday night’s contest at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. During a practice session, LaVine said he nearly knocked Wiggins unconscious.
“That’s the funny thing, is I didn’t do that one,” LaVine said, drawing laughs. “I got some tricks in the bag still.”
Curry is counting on Golden State Warriors teammate and fellow “Splash Brother” star Klay Thompson to try and dethrone him next year, too.
Thompson had an opening-round best of 24 in the 3-point contest, but scored only 14 points in the final round. Curry posted a 27, while Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving finished with 17 points in the three-man final.

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