West pulls away late, beats East in All-Star Game, 143-138


West pulls away late, beats East in All-Star Game, 143-138

HOUSTON The All-Star weekend is presented under the guise of it being a showcase of the brightest stars - and we're not just talking players, either.

It is indeed a smorgasbord for those who feast off watching folks who are the best of the best at their respective craft - and we're not just talking about the Hollywood A-listers.

Those taking center stage on Sunday, the NBA All-Stars, didn't really buckle down until the game's final minutes - an all-too common happening during these games.

And Sunday's game was indeed just that as the Western Conference pulled away in the closing minutes for a 143-138 win.

LeBron James pulled up for a jumper that Kobe Bryant swatted from the side. The loose ball wound up in the hands of Kevin Durant who coasted into the lane for a dunk that gave the West a 136-126 lead that proved to be too big a deficit for the East to overcome.

For the West, Clippers guard Chris Paul took home All-Star Game MVP honors with 20 points and 15 assists while Kevin Durant, last year's MVP, had a game-high 30 points. For the East, Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and 11 rebounds while Dwyane Wade had 21 points.

The West All-Stars lead 31-26 after the first quarter with Kevin Durant leading the way with 7 points. Kobe Bryant also had a strong quarter for the West, with five points and three assists.

James and Anthony carried the East with seven points apiece.

The game stayed relatively close in the second quarter, ending with the West leading 69-65.

Durant continued to carry the West with 19 first-half points. Blake Griffin was a factor as well with 12 points coming on six alley-oop dunks.

For the East, their Big Three consisted of Wade (12 points), James (10 points) and Anthony (10 points).

Kevin Garnett played just six minutes -- all in the first quarter -- finishing with zero points and three rebounds.

Smart yet to be ruled out of Celtics’ opener


Smart yet to be ruled out of Celtics’ opener

WALTHAM, Mass. – Marcus Smart remains out with a left ankle sprain injury sustained earlier this week, but has yet to be ruled out for the season opener against Brooklyn next week.

An MRI came back negative on Smart’s ankle, which was good news.

But there’s still a high level of uncertainty as to whether Smart will heal in time for the team’s opener at home against Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

He sprained the left ankle in the second quarter of a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday when he stepped on the foot of Knicks guard Justin Holiday.

Smart fell to the floor and was helped to his feet by teammates Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas in addition to the team’s head trainer Ed Lacerte.

The Celtics are indeed hopeful he will heal in time to play next week, but league sources indicate it’s doubtful due to the nature of the injury and Smart’s history with left ankle sprains.

He sustained one in his rookie season and it kept him out for several weeks and he has had a few minor ankle sprains since then.

Even if he shows signs of being healthy enough to play prior to the opener, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious to best insure that when he does return he does not re-aggravate the ankle.

Smart appeared in all seven preseason games for the Celtics this season, averaging 8.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Smart shot 42 percent from the field, but struggled mightily from 3-point range while connecting on just 13.6 percent of his 3-point shot attempts.

If Smart is unable to play in the opener or potentially longer, look for the Celtics to lean heavily on Terry Rozier who has been the breakout performer for Boston in the summer and in camp.

“I’m just trying to do whatever they need me to do, to help us win games,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “I’m feeling good, real good about where my game’s at now. Obviously we’re a better team in every way, with Marcus out there. But if he’s not ready to go, the next man up has to get the job done. If that’s me, it’s me. I’ll be ready.”