ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Kobe Bryant got the scoring record, Kevin Durant the MVP, and the West got the win—barely.
Even after that duo piled up the points, the NBA All-Star game came down to a defensive play.
A bloodied Bryant scored 27 points, moving past Michael Jordan as the career scoring leader in the game, Durant had 36 in an MVP performance, and Blake Griffin’s interception of LeBron James’ pass secured the Western Conference’s 152-149 win over the East on Sunday night.
Bryant shook off Dwyane Wade’s hard smack to his nose and was still on the floor to say something to James after he threw away a pass in the closing records.
“You know, you have some of the best competitors out on the floor at the same time,” James said. “Not only me and Kobe, but D-Wade and Durant and (Carmelo Anthony) and (Chris Paul), and all the rest of the guys. We all wanted to win, and it came down to the last minute or last seconds.”
James and the East cut a 21-point deficit to one in the closing seconds, but weren’t able to move in front. James had 36 points and fellow Heat star Wade finished with a triple-double.
“It was fun,” Durant said. “That’s the type of All-Star game you want to see.”
Griffin scored 22 points for the West, which rang up 88 points in the first half, setting an All-Star record. But he won the game with his defense, picking off James’ pass when the East had a chance to tie in the final seconds.
“When I tried to throw it late, that’s what usually happens and it results in a turnover,” James said. “Definitely wish I could have that one back.”