Monday, February 16, 2009

How the West Won: 146-119 All-Star Game Blowout

(It's a man, it's a mime, it's Shaq-Fu!)

Welcome back, Shaq and Kobe...The dynamic duo teamed up for the first time since their LA Laker days of old glory to lead the West to a big blowout win in the 58th annual NBA All-Star Game Sunday Night. It was the West pounding the East by a final score of 146-119 as the stars came out to shine in Phoenix. Looking on from the crowd were the likes of Chris Tucker, Ludacris, Jay-Z & Beyone, Senator John McCain and his wife, and boxing legend, Muhammad Ali.

Prior to the actual game were the always colorful introductions. In the past we've seen Yao and his starting mates do breakdance moves. This year, Shaq decided to get introduced in grand fashion as he emerged onto the stage wearing his very own white mask (ala Michael Meyers), then proceeded to break it on down with the hip-hop dance group, Jabbawockeez. All that was missing were Shaq's fellow hip hop friends Fu-Schnickens for a surprise rap reunion on stage. Nonetheless, Kobe must have been smiling ear to ear, happy that Shaq wasn't delivering yet another freestyle rap in his direction, and that the two were on the floor together again as teammates. According to's game recap there was little interaction between the two, but they claim they've patched things up.

Kobe seemed on a mission early on, as the commentators mentioned he took about 11 or so shot attempts in the first quarter. Then again, the West was coached by his good pal and current coach, Phil Jackson who had no problem leaving his star on the court. Bryant scored a game high 27 while Shaq added 17 to help the West dominate. The two former Lakers alum shared the MVP award honors after the game. Hometown star, Amare Stoudamire chipped in 19 for a West team that avenged its loss against the East last year in New Orleans. The East was lead by posterchild Lebron James' 20, followed by 18 a piece from Dwyane Wade and Paul Pierce. Several newcomers to the game saw action and their first stats in the game, including Devin Harris, Danny Granger and Mo Williams.

The glaring difference amongst the two teams which seems to have plagued the East in the past was the Eastern Conference's lack of size. Even though the East had lead vote-getter and Superman, Dwight Howard on its starting lineup alongside KG, that's where their size ended. The bench held no real help as Chris Bosh was injured, and all that remained were the likes of Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis and Paul Pierce, none of whom really size up with guys like Paul Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki or David West. Note to the NBA coaches and Commish Stern: Try to have some parity in the game before lineups are finalized. It was nice to see Ray Allen get the nod when Jameer Nelson was unable to play due to injury, but the West had several guys capable of playing the PF or C position. The West took control of the boards, outrebounding the East 51-38, once again proving, size matters. So let's make it mandatory that each team must have 2 centers and 2 power forwards on the bench, no matter what. The East has a few of those right?

See the Full game recap and the full boxscore for the All-Star game here.

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