Chris Paul drives West's late push to beat East
HOUSTON -- One week after Chris Paul dazzled the Garden crowd and a national television audience with a scintillating game, he put on an even better show on a bigger stage.
Paul led the Western Conference All-Stars to a 143-138 win over the East team Sunday night at Toyota Center. The Clippers point guard was named All-Star MVP for the first time after finishing with 20 points and 15 assists.
"Pretty special," Paul said. "It's something I've never done and something I definitely didn't come into the game trying to achieve or thinking that it might even be possible."
Carmelo Anthony led the East with 26 points, nine in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 12 rebounds. It was the second double-double in the All-Star Game for Anthony, who wasn't sure he would play after suffering a right biceps contusion last week.
"Games like this, it's so up-tempo and fast-paced, a guy like me who's a facilitator and gets it to other people, I enjoy games like that," Paul said.
Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and James had 19 for the East. Chandler had seven points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. He had a vicious righthanded dunk off Wade's lob pass late in the first half.
"Just the entire weekend festivities [were special]," Chandler said. "Once you get out there, it's a game. It's even better when you have the opportunity to play against the best players in the world."
Right from the beginning, Paul was a facilitator. He had nine assists in the first half and on one play dribbled the ball through Heat forward Chris Bosh's legs and went past him on the baseline.
In the fourth quarter, with the game tight and the West needing some scoring, Paul delivered that, too. He scored nine points in the final 4:14 after Anthony cut a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to 127-124.
Paul scored on a driving layup on the next possession, then hit a three to put the West up by six. Later, Paul hit another three over Bulls big man Joakim Noah with the shot clock winding down to make it 139-128 with 1:57 to go.
"I didn't know what I was going to do," Paul said. "Part of me wanted to try some moves and try and get by him. He just backed up and I figured I'd shoot it. Don't waste any time."
The East charged back behind two threes by Paul and one by Anthony that made it 142-138 with 23 seconds remaining. Paul closed out the scoring with a foul shot on the West's next trip. He already had sealed the MVP award.
"You just want to play fast," Paul said. "I like to throw lobs. I like to see guys hit threes. When you're out there on the court with all that firepower, why wouldn't you want to play fast? You got KD filling one of the lanes, you got Blake, you got Kobe on the wing -- [there's] nothing like it."