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February 18, 2013

West beats East 143-138 in NBA All-Star Game

(Continued)

HOUSTON —

James and Dwyane Wade wore purple, and Griffin's neon look was also sported by the usually not-so-loud Tim Duncan and Brook Lopez.

But the NBA's high-flyers sure could leap in them.

Durant slammed one down so hard at one point that he stumbled backward after landing, appearing woozy. He came in as the career leader in points per game with 28.3 and may have won a second straight MVP award if not for Paul's big finish.

But the Kobe-LeBron matchup down the stretch showed that even in an All-Star game, when it's time to determine a winner, the 34-year-old Bryant is all business.

"It was all in good spirit, man. It was just two guys that love to compete, love to go at it. So I had a lot of fun," said James, who at 28 has plenty of time to catch up to Jordan and Bryant in when it comes to NBA championships.

Bryant finished with only nine points, but had eight assists. Griffin shot 9 of 11 from the field and didn't miss until trying to violently throw one down from a few feet away from the basket.

Indiana's Paul George scored 17 and Kyrie Irving had 15 for the East.

Not everybody had it so easy. Chris Bosh shot two airballs in the first quarter and was booed, tossed up another in the second, and had Tony Parker dribble the ball through his legs on defense. He was even pulled down the stretch by his own coach, Erik Spoelstra, right after Bryant blew right by him for a layup.

Bosh finished 3 of 9. Wade had 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting, the best performance of the three Heat players in the starting lineup. He and James helped the East pull out a two-point win in the 2006 game here, but the West didn't play Bryant-level defense back then.

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