Bryant grabs record-tying fourth MVP at All-Star in West's victory

16:05, February 21, 2011      

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West All Star Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the MVP trophy after the NBA All-Star basketball game in Los Angeles, the United States, Feb. 20, 2011. The West team beat East team 148-143. (Xinhua/Qi Heng)
Kobe Bryant was named the MVP, his fourth, on Sunday night as he scored 37 points to lead the West past the East 148-143 in the NBA All-Star game.

Bob Pettit of St. Louis recorded the most MVP of All-Star for four times as the lone leader before the night.

Bryant scored 21 points in the first half, which contributed heavily to his record-tying fourth All-Star game MVP award, and the West took a 76-64 lead over the East at halftime.

He continued to put on smooth scoring with 13 points through the third quarter and grabbed 14 rebounds in the game.

"I wanted to come out and play hard and put on a good show," said Bryant. "It feels great being at home here and playing in front of the home crowd."

The West led by 17 points entering into the fourth quarter, but the East rallied back through suffocating defense and narrowed the gap to two points, but Kevin Durant snapped five points in a row to expand the lead to safe seven points again.

But the West fought back relentlessly and James' driving layup brought the East within 142-140 with 1:12 to play. Pau Gasol answered by tipping in Bryant's miss, and Chris Paul made two free throws to put the West back in control.

Durant had 34 points and Lakers' Pau Gasol scored 17 points and delighted his hometown fans with a putback that gave the West a four-point lead with under a minute left.

For Durant's highlight of the night, the Thunder forward put it as "just winning the game. Being named a starter.It was a good game in the fourth quarter, so as a player, a competitive player, that's something I enjoy playing in. So I think that was the funnest part."

LeBron James of the Miami Heat had a triple double to lead the East All-Stars. James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. New York' s Amare Stoudemire also had 29 points to back up James.

James became the second All-Star palyer to register triple double along with Michael Jordan. "I just tried to showcase my talent on both ends of the floor defending, rebounding, scoring. Tried to help lead our team to victory," said James.

"We came up short and you know for me, I'm all about winning, so just a little disappointed in our game. Disappointed that we didn't win But at the same time I'm happy that All-Star weekend was a success once again."

All-Star success is nothing new to Bryant, who has made headlines at the event since becoming the youngest All-Star ever, playing in the 1998 game when he was 19 years old.

He has appeared in 13 All-Star Games, winning the MVP award previously in 2009, 2007 and 2002. Two years ago, he shared it with Shaquille O'Neal, but the trophy was all his this time.

He fired away from the beginning, taking 14 shots in his first 15 minutes under the encourage of cheers from a pro-Lakers crowd.

Talking about the criticism over Lakers' losing streak prior to the All-Star game, Bryant said: "I could care less about the criticism. It's just all tonight was just me being around young players."

"You know, (Russell) Westbrook. You want to know the influence of Blake (Griffin), look at all of the dunks I had tonight. Just being around so many young players gave me so much energy to see them bouncing arond and all that sort of stuff.

"Just reenergized me for the night but the fourth quarter, I had nothing left. I exceeded my dunk quota for the game." He said.Source:Xinhua
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