Tuesday, 22 February 2011


24. Kobe Bryant isn't just the king of L.A. he's the king of the NBA. Bryant tied legend Bob Petit with four NBA All-Star MVP's (a record tie) on his home-court, the Staples Centre of the Los Angeles Lakers. The man who last shared the honors with former team-mate Shaq and also won in his hometown Philadelphia led the West to an epic 148-143 win over the Eastern All-Stars. Kobe tallied 37 points and 14 rebounds, going toe-to-toe with eastern rival LeBron James of favourite Miami who had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, matching Michael Jordan as one of the only players to record a triple-double in an All-Star game. The East could have taken it but last years All-Star MVP, Dwyane Wade left with an ankle injury after scoring 14. One thing was for certain though, it was another classic All-Star for the ages and in what will probably be the last All-Star game for Kobe in Los Angeles, a fitting chapter closure to one of the stories of his L.A. times.

48. You just knew Blake was going to get it. The most exciting highlight of the All-Star weekend was as creative as ever on Saturday, as the dunk contest was a slam dunk of a success. Blake Griffin won the contest by jumping over a car as he caught Baron Davis alley-out the sunroof. OK, so he only jumped over the bonnet of the car but still he wasn't wearing Kobe's 'hyperdunks'. It was still good enough for his choir and everyone in the arena to believe he could fly. Blake also rolled out an impressive array of dunks, including a 10 out of 10, 360, a tornado of a windmill and a honey dip dunk, where he went deeper into the jar then Vince did, (he's got the marks to prove it). Runner up, Javale McGee was also incredible, dunking two balls in two baskets and then jamming three balls in one go. DeMar DeRozen also had a bag of tricks and Serge Ibaka represented Africa to the full raising flags, saving kids toys with his teeth and jumping from further away from the free throw line then Mike and the good Doctor did. Rim rock and roll all round.

82. In the other weekend highlights. James Jones of Miami took the 3 Point Contest crown, whetting the fire of greatest three point shooter of all time, Ray Allen. That's quite a man to beat. Still on some racks Jesus' shots looked as pure as the Virgin Mary. Boston teammate, Paul Pierce also had a dramatic run, being booed by his hometown Los Angeles fans. P-Double still was good with the triple adding, "I don't understand how you can boo me, but not Ray". One of the more interesting events of the weekend was the Celebrity Game. Despite some dodgy timeout acting the game was a thrill to watch and it was great to see 'Seinfelds' Jason Alexander, 'Modern Family's' Ty Burrell and Jimmy Kimmell join Bill Walton and Magic Johnson on the sidelines. It was also to former players, Rick Fox and Mitch Richmond on great form and Hall Of Famer, Scottie Pippen on dynamite form. Still the real pleasant surprise was Justin Bieber. He was always going to get the MVP but he played brilliantly amongst, older taller professionals. It was one of those 'Chappelle Show' moments like when Charlie Murphy played basketball with Prince, "don't ever judge a book by his cover, because this cat could ball". He crossed up Common (how many times could you say a 16 year old schooled a rapper?), he hit a high arching three which brought rain with it and he alley-ooped Romeo to finish the game on a high note, even though his team lost the game. The score didn't matter as Bieber earned his respect on the court.

O.T. Atlanta where the shooting stars winners with some ranger, dead-eye shooting from Hawk, Al Horford, the WNBA's Atlanta Dream's Coco Miller and legend Steve Smith. Another highlight was a half-court heave from analyst Kenny Smith that will have him talking more than he did as Blake Griffin's coach in the dunk-contest...Steph Curry paid the bills in the Skills Contest, owning his opponents and being warm and open with the lucky fans who got to sit next to him. A true professional indeed...the Rookies answered the Sophmore's challenge with a 148-140 win thanks to 33 points from DeMarcus Cousins, I bet he was glad his reigning Rookie Of the Year team-mate Tyreke Evans wasn't playing...this wraps up Basketball's most exciting filled weekend of the year, but please believe the thrills and spills aren't over yet. Just wait for what's in store this week. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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