Love, Western Conference Pick Up All-Star Win





Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves forward Kevin Love paid no attention to dress codes on Sunday. Instead, he made his own.

Love strolled up to Amway Center in Orlando for the 2012 All-Star Game in a tuxedo, black bowtie prominently placed around his neck. Sunday was, after all, a big day.

“It was Oscar night,” Love said. “So I had to look my best.”

He looked good on the court, too.

Love finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in just over 18 minutes of play, helping the Western Conference pick up a 152-149 win over the Eastern Conference in Orlando. Love scored eight of his 17 points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, hitting both of his 3-pointers in the final frame.

Love, making his second straight All-Star appearance, said it was a lot of fun to be part of a game that featured so much athleticism and talent.

“It was a lot of fun to watch those guys do what they do best,” Love said. “A lot of guys play above the rim. It’s show business out there. They’re out there putting on for the fans, and it’s fun to watch.”

Thunder forward Kevin Durant won the Most Valuable Player award with 36 points and seven rebounds in the game. Western Conference teammate Kobe Bryant chipped in 27, and in doing so he passed Michael Jordan as the All-Star Game’s all-time leading scorer. Blake Griffin finished with 22 points and Russell Westbrook added 21.

Durant said it was a dream to be named the All-Star Game MVP, something he didn’t expect to happen.

“Coming from where I come from, I didn’t think I would be here,” Durant said. “Everything has just been a blessing to me.”

For the East, Miami forward LeBron James scored 36 points and added seven assists, while Heat teammate Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and New Jersey’s Deron Williams had 20. New York forward Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and nine rebounds.

The Western Conference came out on fire, shooting 60.3 percent from the floor and taking an 88-69 lead heading into halftime. The West cooled down significantly, shooting 45 percent the rest of the way while the East continued to battle. With 3:38 remaining in the fourth, the West’s once 21-point lead shrank to six thanks to an Anthony lay-up. With 1:47 left, Williams’ steal and lay-up cut the East’s deficit to 148-147.

But Griffin hit a put-back basket and added a free throw late to ice the game.

Love made his biggest early in the fourth, pushing the West’s lead to 20 with his second 3-pointer of the night at the 9:09 mark.

“Guys were finding me,” Love said.

Love finished with a game-best plus/minus mark of plus-16.

“It felt good. Like most All-Star Games, people get up and down, lots of dunks, lots of plays that excite the fans,” Love said. “I just tried to do my part, help us win and it feels good to get the ‘W.’”


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