By Brian Mahoney/The Associated Press
HOUSTON — Kevin Durant scored 30 points, MVP Chris Paul had 20 points and 15 assists, and the Western Conference beat the East 143-138 on Sunday night in the NBA All-Star game.
Blake Griffin finished with 19 points and Kobe Bryant blocked LeBron James twice in the final minutes, that duo joining Paul to turn the West’s victory into something of an L.A. story.
James scored 19 points but shot only 7 of 18 after having no shooting troubles during the latter part of the season’s first half. Carmelo Anthony led the East with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
The first dunk of the game came 16 seconds in, Paul throwing a pass to Clippers teammate Griffin as part of the West’s 7-0 start. The West led after each of the first three quarters, though was never ahead by more than eight points through three periods.
They finally pushed it into double figures early in the fourth fueled by former Oklahoma City teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but couldn’t put it away until a late run behind the guys from the city of Los Angeles — who along with Lakers center Dwight Howard gave Los Angeles all but one of the West’s starting spots.
Paul hit two 3-pointers, Bryant made a layup, and his block of James led to Durant’s dunk that made it 136-126. Griffin had one last forceful dunk to help close it out, throwing a pass to himself off the backboard and climbing high in his neon green sneakers to slam it home and make it 142-134.