Melo has fun, but East falls to West

Western Conference's Chris Paul (3), of the Los Western Conference's Chris Paul (3), of the Los Angeles Clippers, Eastern Conference's Carmelo Anthony (7), of the New York Knicks, and Western Conference's Kobe Bryant (24), of the Los Angeles Lakers, talk before the NBA All-Star basketball game. (Feb. 26, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Melo? Much more mellow.

Sunday night's fun-filled, celebrity-packed, high-flying NBA All-Star Game was much more relaxing for Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony than his experience in last year's event in Los Angeles.

Remember that? Anthony was the center of attention because the clock was ticking on his future. Minute-by-minute, coast-to-coast speculation about Anthony's next team ended only when he was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Knicks the day after the All-Star Game.

"It was a whirlwind, man," Anthony said.

Sunday night, Anthony made his first All-Star Game start as a Knick and had 19 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes in the East's 152-149 loss to the West at the Amway Center.

"It definitely was fun," said Anthony, who had nine points in the fourth quarter as the East came almost all the way back from a 21-point third-quarter deficit. "Especially toward the end. The way we came back. We had a chance to take the lead, a chance to win the game. But that's what makes All-Star Games the way it is. It was a great way to just cap off the weekend."

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With the East trailing by one, the Heat's Dwyane Wade (24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) fumbled the ball out of bounds on a breakaway with 1:16 left.

In the final seconds, the Nets' Deron Williams (20 points) missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer. LeBron James got the rebound and threw a cross-court pass that was intercepted by Blake Griffin, who hit one of two free throws with 1.1 seconds left. Wade missed a desperation corner three-pointer at the buzzer to end it.

MVP Kevin Durant of the Thunder had 36 points to lead the West. James also had 36.

Kobe Bryant (27 points) passed Michael Jordan as the all-time All-Star Game scorer with a third-quarter dunk. Jordan had 262 points. Bryant has 280.

For Anthony, the Knicks' lone All-Star, this weekend was all about having fun.

Put aside for a day were questions about whether he can coexist with Jeremy Lin on the Knicks. Nor was anyone asking if Anthony could coexist with fellow Eastern Conference All-Star starters Wade, James, Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. (Not seriously, anyway.)

On his first shot attempt, Anthony was fouled -- and then hugged -- by Bryant. Anthony later completed an alley-oop from Wade with a layup. He dunked off a bounce pass from Andre Iguodala. He grabbed a behind-the-back pass from Wade and scored two more inside. He reminded Howard -- this year's player on the trade speculation griddle -- that they were teammates for a night when the burly center banged into him under the basket.

Anthony said the saga he helped create last year by asking to be traded from Denver took a toll on him, especially during the All-Star festivities.

"I was affected by it, but I don't think anybody saw it," he said. "I didn't show anybody that I was affected by it. The only time it affected me was when I went home and I laid my head down on the pillow and couldn't sleep."

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Now? He got a chance to sleep Sunday night on the flight back to New York to rejoin the Knicks Monday for their first second-half practice. From mellow to hello -- again.

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