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.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.


But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."