Kobe leads West to All-Star win on home court

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Kobe leads West to All-Star win on home court

Feb. 20, 2011
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LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant always shines brightest among the stars, especially in his hometown.Bryant brought Showtime back to the All-Star game, scoring 37 points and tying a record with his fourth MVP award, leading the Western Conference to a 148-143 victory over the East on Sunday night.Returning to the game he dominates after a one-year absence, Bryant added 14 rebounds in a spectacular performance in front of the usual celebrity-filled crowd that turns out to see his Lakers at Staples Center."It feels great, being at home here and playing in front of the home crowd," Bryant said after receiving the MVP trophy. "This will be my last All-Star game in front of these home fans, so it feels good to do it."Kevin Durant chipped in 34 points, scoring five straight after the East cut a 17-point deficit after three quarters to two points with 2:34 to play. The NBA scoring leader added the clinching free throws after the East got back within three in the final seconds.LeBron James powered the East rally, finishing with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to join Michael Jordan as the only players with a triple-double in the All-Star game. Amare Stoudemire also scored 29, but Miami's Dwyane Wade, the MVP of the East's win last year, had to leave with an ankle injury after scoring 14.Plenty of Hollywood giants were sitting courtside, but Bryant's popularity here can rival most of them. This week, he became the first athlete to have his handprints and footprints put in concrete outside Hollywood's famed Grauman's Chinese Theater.He told fans to "enjoy the show" before the tip, and as always he delivered a good one.Always more about focus than fun, Bryant had 21 points by the time Rihanna came out for her halftime performance, putting him halfway to Wilt Chamberlain's record from 1962, the year of his 100-point game. And when the East made it close in the third quarter, Bryant dunked over a chasing James who was going for the block, then nailed a 3-pointer to make it 90-79.Carmelo Anthony scored eight points in his possible goodbye to the West team. The weekend was dominated by talk of a potential trade to New York or New Jersey, and the Denver Nuggets forward appeared alternately entertained and annoyed by the constant questions."At times, it can be tough, but it's fun at the same time," he said while walking on the magenta carpet before the game. "During this weekend I'm still having fun."While hearing some of the usual "MVP! MVP! chants he's usually serenaded with at Staples Center, Bryant tied Bob Pettit's record for All-Star game honors. He was scoreless for the final 6:48, but Lakers teammate Pau Gasol had a big basket to help the West hold on.The exhibition game had a bit of a finals feel with the presence of a record-tying four players from the rival Celtics.Paul Pierce - who grew up in nearby Inglewood - and Kevin Garnett received the heaviest boos during the starting lineups. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo were also here from the group that lost Game 7 on this floor last June and would love another chance to come take the title back.East coach Doc Rivers sent his four players out together midway through the first quarter to loud boos that usually provide the soundtrack of June in Los Angeles. They quickly turned to cheers when Ray Allen threw up an airball on his first shot attempt.The crowd of entertainers included Beyonce and Jay-Z, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jack Nicholson, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Justin Bieber - who was called Justin "Berber" by the public address announcer while mentioning the teen star's MVP performance in the celebrity game on Friday.Perhaps trying too hard to impress the stars surrounding them, there were errant passes and shaky shooting in the early minutes. The West got it right in the final minute of the first quarter, with Griffin catching an alley-oop pass from Deron Williams for one of his powerful dunks - though not quite the degree of difficulty as his slam while leaping over the hood of a car Saturday to win the dunk contest.The game was a welcome diversion from the Anthony talk and the troubling labor situation that threatens the league. Next year's game is scheduled for Orlando, but nobody can be sure it will be played. The owners and players' association met Friday to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires June 30. Though it was described as a positive meeting, there was also no progress made, and the sides have a significant gap to close in order to prevent a work stoppage.And it was a welcome break for Lakers fans, whose defending two-time champions stumbled into the break with three losses in a row.They'll be all right if Bryant is as sharp in the spring as he was Sunday.Following a pregame performance by rocker Lenny Kravitz a tandem talc toss by James and the rest of the East starters, Bryant scored 11 points in the first quarter. The West led 76-64 at halftime.NOTES: Not all Celtics get booed in Los Angeles. Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who this week became the first person from the NBA to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, received a standing ovation when his honor was announced during the second quarter. ... The record of 14 straight All-Star selections is shared by Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone. ... Dolph Schayes was honored for scoring the first points in the first All-Star game 60 years ago.

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

OAKLAND -- With Kevin Durant out of the Warriors lineup Saturday night with swelling in his left pinky finger, rookie wing Pat McCaw will start at forward against Brooklyn at Oracle Arena.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the announcement two hours before tipoff.

As for Durant, the contusion in his left pinky finger, sustained Thursday, is still in the healing process.

“Kevin’s hand is still a little swollen,” Kerr said. “It’s not anything we want to mess around with. We’ve got a long trip coming up, a lot of games. It made sense to give him the night off. We’ll have tomorrow off, flying in to Philadelphia. So hopefully the next couple days it’ll calm down and be fine. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The decision to start McCaw -- who often competes with Ian Clark for playing time -- was based mostly on how he matches up against the Nets.

“They both have my trust and my confidence,” Kerr said. “Both of them are very effective. It’s depending what we need. If we need ball movement and cutting, I’m more likely to go to Ian. He’s a great back-cutter and he gives our offense flow and he’ll make spot-up shots. If we need some size defensively, we’ll go to Patrick. They’ve both been effective. I wouldn’t say either one is ahead of the other. They’re both going to play.”

New acquisitions shine as Quakes end preseason with win over USL's Republic

New acquisitions shine as Quakes end preseason with win over USL's Republic

The San Jose Earthquakes concluded their 2017 preseason campaign with a 4-1 win against Sacramento Republic FC at Avaya Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Shea Salinas, Simon Dawkins, Jahmir Hyka and Danny Hoesen each scored for the Earthquakes in the victory to give San Jose a 6-1-2 record in preseason play.

In the 14th minute, Salinas gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 advantage when he one-timed Tommy Thompson's cross into the back of the net. In the buildup to the goal, Nick Lima threw the ball in and found fellow Homegrown player Thompson on the right side of the six-yard box. With one touch, Thompson crossed the ball to Salinas who made no mistake with his finish.

Republic FC equalized the match in the 54th minute with a penalty from Sammy Ochoa after Anibal Godoy was called for a handball in the box.

The Earthquakes regained the lead in the 66th minute when Dawkins sent a powerful low shot into the bottom left corner of Sacramento's goal from the top of the 18-yard box after receiving a through pass from Darwin Ceren.

After entering the match at halftime, Hyka made the game 3-1 in the 79th minute, finishing Godoy's cross with one touch.

Hoesen concluded the scoring for the Quakes in first minute of stoppage time after he dribbled past the Sacramento defense and sent the ball across the goal into the bottom right corner to make the final score 4-1.

"It was good," said Quakes defender and second-ever Homegrown signing Nick Lima, who started Saturday. "It was obviously our first time in the preseason in the stadium. It was good to get out there with our starters and I think we finished the way we wanted to. There's obviously a lot of improvement that we need to do, but now we have a week just to focus on Montreal. That was the ultimate goal from the beginning of preseason to get ready for that game and I think we took a step in the right direction."

The Earthquakes will start the 2017 MLS Regular Season next Saturday, March 4, at 6:45 p.m. against the Montreal Impact.

Earthquakes media services.