Kobe Bryant had 31 points, six assists and six steals Sunday as the West easily beat the East, 153-132, in the 56th NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas.
Bryant's exhibition earned him game MVP honors, and the West posted an All-Star Game record 52 assists -- and just missed breaking the record for most points, 155 set four years ago -- in snapping a two-game losing streak in the annual showcase.
Amare Stoudemire had 29 points and nine rebounds for the West, Carmelo Anthony had 20 points and nine rebounds and Shawn Marion put up 18 points and eight rebounds.
LeBron James -- last year's All-Star Game MVP -- finished with 28 points, six rebounds and six assists for the East. Dwight Howard scored 20 and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, UPI reports.
In addition to the Las Vegas showgirls, Elvis impersonators and other entertainers, the crowd of 15,694 saw the two teams combine for the most points in an All-Star Game that didn't go to overtime. The previous regulation record was 284 points in 1961, a 153-131 victory for the West.
Amare Stoudamire of the Phoenix Suns had 29 points and nine rebounds for the Western Conference last night, while Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Shawn Marion of the Suns had 18 points and eight rebounds, Bloomberg reports.
The event started with a celebrity red carpet, where Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, flanked as usual by his showgirls and backed by entertainer Wayne Newton, vowed again to get the NBA here full-time with a new arena to play in.
Magicians Siegfried and Roy then welcomed the fans to Las Vegas, before introducing the showgirls who escorted Newton out to the stage for a performance of "Viva Las Vegas." After the East All-Stars were introduced, Newton took the stage again for another performance before the West players were announced.
After another Las Vegas entertainer, Danny Gans, sang the national anthem, it was finally time for some basketball — after about a 45-minute pregame.
Perhaps that took its toll on the players. There were missed dunks and passes thrown out of bounds by both teams, but the East was by far the worst. They missed seven of their first nine shots, including a blown dunk attempt by Shaquille O'Neal, the AP reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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