The Western Conference played more as a collective unit in the first half than the East, and took a 76-64 lead into halftime to prove it. Kobe Bryant lead all scorers with 21 while Chris Bosh had 12 for the East. The players seemed to settle in to the game a bit more in the second quarter, and it looked like each guy started doing what they do best; Derrick Rose was darting to the hoop, LeBron was taking it coast-to-coast for easy lay-ins, Russell Westbrook was catching some hang time, Kevin Durant was looking to score.
The fans took a moment during the second quarter to recognize Boston Celtics’ legend Bill Russell for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama on Tuesday. Really nice touch by the NBA to recognize Russell like that.
During halftime Craig Sager caught up with Kobe and asked him about the first half. Kobe reiterated the fact the the West “wants to win” and “prove that it is stronger” than their Eastern Conference counterparts. When Sager asked if he was striving for MVP honors for the game, Kobe acknowledged that “the fans voted us in” to the All-Star game, and that they deserve to see a high level of play at an exhibition game such as this. Im rooting for the Black Mamba to take home MVP for sure.
In celebrity news, I enjoyed Rihanna’s halftime performance, but mostly just the end when she brought Drake out to perform “What’s My Name” and Kanye West for his “All of the Lights.” The NBA certainly knows how to throw an extravagantly choreographed All-Star Game.