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News  


2016 NBA All-Star Game -- West pummels East, 196-173


PhilBoxing.com




TORONTO -- ​It was East versus West in the annual showcase of the best of the best in the NBA. Set for the first time outside of the U.S. in chilly Toronto, Canada, the Sunday night game was the capstone to a weekend highlighted by look at the league’s Rising Stars, a scintillating Slam Dunk contest, and fond farewell to an All-Star staple.

The sellout crowd of 18,298 in the Air Canada Centre was in for a high-scoring contest and plenty of entertainment along the way.

The East led most of the first half and led by as many as 10, but the West came back and led at the half, 92-90. The West picked up the pace in the second half and opened up a 17 point lead in the third quarter.

The East would come within 9 at the end of the third, but the West eventually broke open a 23 point lead in the final stanza and won 196-173.

Guard Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder won Most Valuable Player for a second straight year and was the first in the NBA to do so. He led the West with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. On his achievement he said,

“Any time you can be able to be in the history books, it always means something to me, man. I’m just thankful to be able to play the game of basketball and be in a game like this is something that I never take for granted.”

The East was led by Paul George (41 points, 5 rebounds) of the Indiana Pacers, who made a successful return to the All-Star Game after missing essentially all of the last season after suffering a gruesome leg fracture in the summer of 2014. When asked about what this All-Star Game meant to him,

George recalled his trials from the past year:

“It’s really special. You know, I had a hard-fought summer, hard-fought rehab year. It was just a very upward climb. It took every day and really every moment of rehab to get through it. There were a lot of days where I felt like I was down and out, but just stayed with it. For me to be here just being back as an All-Star was special. But to be able to put on a show and have fun and enjoy this moment, get back to playing how I play pre-injury is special. I’ve just been blessed. I’m very thankful and very grateful.”

The entire weekend was a celebration of the career of basketball great Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, who played in the final All-Star Game of his 19 year career. Bryant was the leading vote getter in the fan vote, beating out current league MVP Stephen Curry and perennial All-Star Lebron James. A montage of Bryant’s best All-Star moments was shown before tip-off and he was introduced and acknowledged by Laker legend Earvin Magic Johnson.

On being on the court for his last, Bryant said, “It was fun. I had a blast playing with those guys, laughing and joking with them on the bench. And, you know, I got a chance to stop Pau [Gasol] in a post, redeem myself from what he did to me when Chicago came to town. But all those things are just fun. I had a great time. I had a great, great time.”

Bryant’s mark on the game is clear. And his mark on the All-Stars of today is even more indelible. He mused upon the memories they shared with him this weekend, particularly of how they used him as the standard. “Coming into the league, playing against me, wanting to prove to me that they were as competitive. When I hear those kind of stories, man, that makes me feel real good…. At this stage it feels absolutely wonderful to hear those things.”

Just prior to the close of the game, the host city Toronto passed on the mantle to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets will host the 2017 All-Star Weekend.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Adeline Deladisma.


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