By A.Sherrod Blakely
LOS ANGELES In the Staples Center, no one expected the Boston Celtics' All-Star foursome to get a standing ovation or even a noticeable round of applause when introduced.
But the loudest jeers seemed to be directed at Paul Pierce, who grew up just a few miles to the south of Los Angeles, along Interstate-110, in Ingelwood, Calif.
"Well, you know, the L.A. fans, that's them," Pierce said. "I'm not from L.A., so I expect it."
The boos were especially noticeable when Doc Rivers, who coached the East squad, inserted all four players into the game at the 6:37 mark of the first quarter.
As the public-address announcer introduced each player, Pierce was clearly the Celtics player they booed the loudest.
One of the few times Rivers cracked a smile came when the four players - Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo - entered the game to a chorus of boos.
"I thought it was beautiful," Rivers said. "You knew they were. That's why I put them in together. The fact that it was L.A., you knew they would not get a rousing ovation. But that was fine. Our guys expected it and it was fun. Our guys got a good laugh about it."
Kobe Bryant won his fourth All-Star MVP with 37 points.
But none stood out more than the two he got in the first half when he dunked the ball on LeBron James, and then tapped James on his backside afterward.
"That was funny," said Bryant, who also added 14 rebounds to his game-high point total. "I saw it coming and I wanted to see if I could avoid the LeBron chase down. But I told him afterwards, if I had tried to go over the rim, like get up, he probably would have blocked it with his armpit. I just tried to be quick and just tried to time it up just the right way and I managed to do it. I kind of snuck it by him."
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook played in their first All-Star Game together on Sunday.
Chances are pretty good that it won't be their last.
They are part of a new wave of NBA greatness that's starting to take shape.
"Our chemistry continues to just get better and better every day," said Durant, who had 32 points. "That was one part that I think back over the weekends, we were always together, people were always seeing us together."
And it wasn't just on game day, either.
Durant talked about how even after they did various events and public appearances this past weekend, "we always came back together," Durant said.
Westbrook is a Los Angeles native who played at UCLA. Durant was especially pleased to see his teammate get a chance to showcase his skills in front family and friends.
"I'm so happy for Russell," Durant said. "For him to come out and play the way he played tonight, I felt proud. Hopefully this is the first of many more and we continue to just keep working as a group, our whole team, and continue to keep getting better."
Durant wasn't too shabby, scoring 34 points on 11-for-23 shooting from the field.
"Shots felt good," Durant said. "Hopefully the next couple of days, they will feel good as well."
Ray Allen led all Celtics All-Stars on Sunday with nine points. That included a pair of 3-pointers, which gives him 22 made 3s in all-star games which is more than any player in NBA history. Trailing Allen is Kobe Bryant, who made a pair of 3s on Sunday and now has 19 made 3s in all-star games.