No one went into the NBA All-Star game on Sunday night thinking that fireworks were going to happen — neither the fans nor the players. In what’s typically a lackluster game that doesn’t involve too much contact but a lot of scoring, this one started off in traditional form. The Eastern conference came onto the court looking as though they had lead in their legs and not a lot of fire in their heart. And while the Western Conference was a little more aggressive, they didn’t have to put out that much effort to take the ball away from the East.
The most exciting part of the first half was when the Western Conference took 88 points, breaking the record for the most points scored in an NBA All-Star half. That, and a interviews right on the bench with some of the greats in today’s game such as LeBron James were about as interesting as it got. In the third quarter though, that all changed and fans now had a couple of things to get really excited about — blood, and a controversy!
In a game when teams typically just hand the ball back and forth, with perhaps a few showy albeit fake attempts to really play any defense, Dwayne Wade changed all of that against NBA giant Kobe Bryant. With just under ten minutes of play left in the third quarter, Wade came up on Bryant from behind and hard-fouled him over the shoulder. It was enough for Bryant to draw blood and no wonder; after the game the Lakers were reporting that he had a nasal fracture. Fair play in regular season, but absolutely unheard of in a game when players are just trying to get through it and get back to their real jobs. It’s not a game that’s worth risking anything for generally and now, Bryant is said to be suffering from headaches and concussion-like symptoms.
That will have to be played out later this coming weekend, when Miami Heat will travel to L.A. to play the Lakers. As it stands, Wade is standing behind his statement that “Kobe had fouled me twice in a row before that, so he still [was] one up on me.” No apologies, not even for a blatantly tough hit in a game that means nothing.
In the meantime, there was still a game to be played out.
James came alive off the bench too, when he had a triple 3: three three-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half. That helped the East get back in the game, even if they were still down by 12. The West brought it the entire game, with Bryant scoring 27, even if he shot only four out of eleven tries in the second half; that concussed condition probably didn’t help. Russell Westbrook brought his own, scoring 21 points during his 28 minutes in the game and Kevin Love scored 17 points — eight of them helped liven up the second half.
In the end it looked like your usual NBA All-Star game, with the Western Conference taking 152 points over the East’s 149. But even with a typical score and not a lot of hoopla surrounding it, this is still sure to be on the NBA All-Star games that’s actually to be remembered.