2014 NBA ALL-STAR RECAP
|WEST ALL-STARS 155||EAST ALL-STARS 163|
NEW ORLEANS – Chris Paul may not have started the 2014 All-Star Game alongside Blake Griffin, but the Clippers’ superstar duo finished it together.
Paul and Griffin played the final 8:53 of Sunday’s game and connected on an alley-oop layup to put the Western Conference up by three with under five minutes remaining. However, they did not account for another basket and the West lost, 163-155, to the East Sunday at Smooth King Center despite 38 points from Griffin and another All-Star Game double-double from Paul.
The West, which had won three straight over the East, blew an 18-point lead and were unable to convert key baskets down the stretch. It was Griffin’s first loss in four All-Star appearances.
“They (the East) started making shots and we didn’t get stops and we went a little bit cold,” said Griffin, who was one of six players selected to speak at the postgame dais. “Down the stretch we made a few key mistakes, but it’s all good.”
The West missed their final five shots after Kevin Durant put them ahead 155-153 with 1:59 to go. Durant scored 38 points, matching Griffin for the game high. Paul had 11 points, 13 assists, four rebounds and three steals in 25 minutes, the most among West reserves. Griffin added six rebounds and two steals and going 19-for-23 from the field, including 12 dunks, to set an All-Star Game record of 19 made field goals which was previously held by Wilt Chamberlain.
“It’s fun,” Griffin said. “This game is for the fans and to be able to do the things that they want to see. I don’t think they want to see me shooting jump shots. So, it’s cool to be able to get up and down and have fun with it.”
Griffin also came four points shy of matching Chamberlain’s record for points scored, even though he did not score in the final 4:24.
The game, as is so often the case on All-Star Sunday, got interesting in the fourth quarter. The East, bridged the gap in the third quarter with Paul, Griffin and Durant on the sideline, and MVP Kyrie Irving helped seal it with 15 of his 31 points in the second half.
Following Durant’s 3-pointer, Paul George made three foul shots after being fouled by James Harden from the right wing to start a 10-0 East run to close the game. That included a Carmelo Anthony’s eighth 3-pointer, establishing an All-Star Game record for made shots from distance.
“Obviously, my teammates knew [about the record],” Anthony said. “They kept finding me. So, all I had to do was space the court and make the shot. They made it easy for me.”
Early on the West made it look easy and Griffin and Paul had arguably the biggest hand in it, leading the West to an All-Star Game record 89 first-half points.
Griffin scored 18 of his 20 first-half points in the opening 10 minutes. He had nine dunks, including two off of assists from Paul. One came with Griffin streaking down the lane and Paul shoveling to the ball to him in full stride. Griffin wound up and threw down a windmill dunk that was as electric as any moment in the half.
Paul, who returned from separated right shoulder on Feb. 9, played 12:29, by far the most of any West reserve in the half, and had five points, nine assists, three rebounds and two steals. His only baskets came on a driving layup and a 3-pointer after an offensive rebound by the West. But he did plenty to create baskets for others.
He had five assists in his first five minutes on the floor and in the second quarter assisted on four consecutive West possessions, throwing transition lobs to first-time All-Star, former Olympic teammate and hometown favorite Anthony Davis.
Paul, returning to New Orleans, his home for his first six NBA seasons, the All-Star experience was unforgettable as it has been throughout his career.
“It was terrible because we lost,” Paul said of the game. “It was fun, though, culminating a great week here in New Orleans. The fans always want a competitive All-Star Game and it was a real good one this year.”
That was enhanced by sharing the floor with Griffin down the stretch, according to his high-flying teammate.
“It’s always nice playing with someone you’re familiar with, especially someone like C.P. who is always looking for you,” Griffin said. “I couldn’t pick a better person to be on the court with in the final minutes.”
Pregame introductions included performances by Pharrell Williams, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Diddy and Busta Rhymes… The West led 44-42 after the first quarter. A week ago, the Clippers scored 46 points in the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers… Paul moved to No. 5 all-time in All-Star Game assists. He has 75, moving up five spots on Sunday including passing Gary Payton for fifth… Without a true center in either team’s starting five, Griffin jumped center against New York’s Carmelo Anthony… Griffin’s 38 points were by far the most in Clippers’ franchise history in an All-Star Game. Randy Smith scored 27 for the Buffalo Braves in his 1978 All-Star MVP performance…Paul has a career average of 12.5 assists in the All-Star Game, the most in NBA history... Griffin tied Chamberlain's record for the most field goals in a half with 10. He and Durant tied Rick Barry for the third most points in All-Star Game history...
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