Eastern Conference wins 2008 NBA All-Star Game

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Eastern Conference 134 128 Western Conference
LeBron James was the game's Most Valuable Player.

The Eastern Conference defeated their Western Conference counterparts at the 2008 National Basketball Association All-Star Game held at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday. The final score was 134-128.

The East took an early 11 point lead in the first 5 minutes, due to an injured Kobe Bryant only playing 2 minutes before sitting on the bench for the rest of the game. "There's one player we really, really missed, and that was Kobe," said West coach Byron Scott. The West later reduced the lead to 2 points, but at halftime, the East led 74-65.

The West trailed by 13 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but rallied behind New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, who had seven assists in the final period. With 2:48 remaining, Brandon Roy scored a layup on an assist from Paul, giving the West a 122-119 lead, their biggest lead of the game.

The East then answered back with two three-pointers from Ray Allen, before Chris Paul tied the game with a three-pointer of his own. However, the East would then take the lead and the game with layups from Dwyane Wade and Allen, as well as a driving dunk from LeBron James. A Brandon Roy three-pointer put the game within three points with 8.7 seconds left, but 3 free throws from Ray Allen sealed the win for the East.

"The fourth quarter was crazy," said Chris Paul. "We were down 13. We picked up the intensity. We took the lead a few times but Ray Allen was unbelievable the way he shot the ball. And that last dunk by LeBron, we had two people on him but that still wasn't enough."

With 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists, James was named the All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career. Some television commentators also considered Ray Allen a likely choice for the award, with 14 of his 28 points coming in the final 3 minutes of the game. "I think Ray Allen had a heck of a shooting night," James said after being presented the award.

Other All-Star events

Although the All-Star game itself is the highlight of the All-Star festivities, the weekend would not be complete without the league's best players showing their skills in other events, including the Rookie Challenge, Three-Point Shootout, and the fan-favorite Slam Dunk Contest.

T-Mobile Rookie Challenge

The Sophomores defeated the Rookies 136-109 in this game featuring the best young players in the league. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson was named the game's MVP, with all 33 of his points coming from 3 point shots. He broke Kyle Korver's Rookie Challenge record of seven three-pointers, set in 2005. This was the sixth straight victory for the Sophomores.

Tim Duncan

Haier Shooting Stars Competition

Team San Antonio won this shooting competition featuring current and former NBA stars, as well as WNBA players. Team San Antonio, which consisted of Spurs forward Tim Duncan, former Spurs center David Robinson, and Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon, defeated Team Chicago in the finals on a halfcourt shot by Duncan.

Playstation Skills Challenge

Deron Williams passed, shot, and dribbled his way through the obstacle course to win the Playstation Skills Challenge with a record time of 25.5 seconds in the final round. Chris Paul's time of 31.2 seconds was strong, but no match for Williams' performance. Dwyane Wade, who had won the challenge for the past two years in a row, struggled through the first round with a time of 53.9 seconds. Also eliminated in the first round was Jason Kidd, who finished the course in 39.7 seconds.

Jason Kapono

Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout

Toronto Raptors guard Jason Kapono won the shootout for the second year in row, making him the first back-to-back winner since Peja Stojakovic won in 2002 and 2003. Kapono's final round score of 25 tied the record set by Mark Price and Craig Hodges in the 1986 competition. Also in the final round were Daniel Gibson, who scored 17 points in the final round, and Dirk Nowitzki, the 2006 Shootout champion, who scored 14. Eliminated in the first round were Stojakovic, Richard Hamilton, and Steve Nash.

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

"I don't think people want to see the same old dunks. They want to see something else, see some spice."

These were Dwight Howard's words after winning the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday. In the first year where fans were able to vote for the winner through text messaging and the Internet, Howard received 78% of the vote, beating out Gerald Green for the slam dunk trophy.

In one of the more notable dunks of the contest, Howard donned a Superman costume, complete with a red cape. He then took off from just inside the free throw line and threw the ball down without even touching the rim. In Howard's first dunk of the night, he tossed the ball off the reverse side of the backboard, caught it, and dunked left-handed.

Gerald Green impressed the fans and the judges when his teammate Rashad McCants placed a cupcake with a lit candle on the back of the rim; Green then jumped up, blew out the candle, and threw down a left handed dunk.

"At first I thought he was going to take the cupcake, eat it and then dunk it," said Howard. "I thought he would have won with that."

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.