Reporting from Orlando, Fla. -- There was a time when it looked as if Kevin Durant was going after Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star game scoring mark of 42 points set in 1962.
Durant had 34 points after three quarters and his coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder — Scott Brooks — was calling the shots for the Western Conference team. But things didn’t work out that way.
Durant said he did not know he was close to the record.
“I missed some shots that I thought I should have made and missed a couple of free throws,” he said. “But, you know, MVP is something that you want to get in this game and I’m glad I got it.”
Durant played a game-high 37 minutes, shooting 14 for 25 from the field, including three for eight from three-point range. But he cooled in the fourth quarter, scoring two points.
“With all these great players on the floor, you never know what will happen.”
Miami’s Dwyane Wade had the task of guarding Kobe Bryant. And while Wade had an excellent game (24 points), he allowed Bryant to score 27 and set the all-time All-Star game scoring record.
“He’s an unbelievable scorer,” Wade said of Bryant. “That record he got, with KD [Durant] in the league, I don’t know how long it’s going to last.
“But Kobe is a scorer. Tonight he does what he normally does. He got 27. He’s Kobe Bryant. But it’s great being a little piece of history. He’s one of the best of all time. We will one day say we had the honor of playing against one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.”
What a half
LeBron James was the major catalyst that brought the East back in the second half. He scored 23 of his 36 points after halftime. He also hit six of eight three-pointers in the game.
But as he tries to retool his image, he was plentiful in his praise for others.
“I tried to do my part,” James said. “But everybody else had a hand in it as well. D-Will [Deron Williams] came off the bench and shot the ball well and gave us 20.
“D-Wade had a triple-double and Melo [Carmelo Anthony] played great as well in the second half.”
Too much time?
When Bryant went to the bench with a bloody nose in the third quarter, Brooks said he never considered taking him out of the game.
“I knew he got hit in the nose and had a bloody nose,” Brooks said. “But other than that I didn’t think it was bothering him.
“That’s the type of guy he is. He’s not going to let anybody know that he was in pain or had any issues until after the game.
“But the guy is as competitive as anybody I’ve been around. He was going to give us everything and not let us know. But that’s what makes him the special player he is.”