Rapid Reaction: West 143, East 138
February, 17, 2013
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
HOUSTON -- A quick take on the Western Conference's 143-138 win over the Eastern Conference in the 62nd NBA All-Star Game:
WHAT IT MEANS: The West has the East's number. It has now won the past three All-Star Games.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul was named the MVP for the first time, finishing with 20 points and 15 assists. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant had a game-high 30 points.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (26 points, 12 rebounds -- both team-highs) kept the East within reach down the stretch. He knocked down a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to four.
Knicks center Tyson Chandler and Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez made their first All-Star appearances.
GOOD TO GO: Anthony suffered a right arm contusion Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors, and wasn't sure if he'd be ready to play in the All-Star Game.
But on Saturday, Anthony said he felt good enough to play, and in the first quarter Sunday night, he backed that up convincingly. He scored seven points in eight minutes, along with three rebounds and two assists.
Anthony did it all in the opening period. He made a jump shot off a screen; he led a fast break, resulting in a Dwyane Wade dunk; he threw a slick, underhanded alley-oop pass to LeBron James for a slam on another breakaway; and he nailed a 3-pointer, which he's becoming more known for.
MELO'S KICKS: The Knicks star was rocking a special All-Star version of his Jordan Melo M9s. The sneakers' main colors, purple and electric green were inspired by the newly released Air Jordan XX8, the latest line in the series. The XX8, which debuted in stores on Feb. 16 for $250, features an eight-inch tall exterior -- the highest cut of any basketball shoe on the market, as it's designed to resemble the silhouette of a military combat boot.
PLAY OF THE GAME (FOR KNICKS): Toward the end of the second quarter, Wade had the ball in the right baseline corner and threw a cross-court alley-oop dish to Chandler. Even though the pass was high, the center still caught the ball from behind, cocked it back and slammed it in one-handed, with his shoulder at rim level.
In 18 minutes, Chandler had seven points and eight rebounds.
LITTLE-USED LOPEZ: There is a reason why the Nets play at a slower pace. It suits the main skill set of Lopez, who is a traditional low-post player.
With the All-Star Game being fast-paced throughout, Lopez hardly saw the ball. In fact, he only had about two touches the entire game -- and only once on the block, which resulted in a drawn foul (off a fallaway jumper) and a made free throw.
The rest of the time, Lopez was mostly setting screens for his high-flying teammates. Overall, he finished with three points, five rebounds and three assists in 10 minutes. Only Kevin Garnett played less (six minutes).
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will play the Pacers in Indianapolis on Wednesday, while the Nets face the Milwaukee Bucks at home on Tuesday. The Knicks (32-18) and Nets (31-22) are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Atlantic Division.