Oklahoma City Thunders’ Russell Westbrook stole the limelight with the “Most Valuable Player” award as Western Conference defeated Eastern Conference to win the 64th NBA All Star Game at the Madison Square Garden, here.
Westbrook netted 41 points, one short of the All-Star record, to guide the Western Conference team to a 163-158 win over Eastern Conference yesterday.
Westbrook registered a record 27 points by half-time and scored two free throws towards the end of the match but failed to match up with Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 points in the 1962 game.
James Harden scored 29 points with the help of eight rebounds and eight assists to help the West gain a 20-point lead at the halfway mark.
With both the teams tied at 148 apiece and a little over four minutes remaining, Harden scored a crucial three-pointer to give West the edge.
Chris Paul then followed it up with consecutive baskets before Westbrook’s fifth three-pointer gave his side a decisive 158-149 lead with 2:22 to go.
Westbrook scored 16 of his 28 field-goal attempts, including five of nine three-point attempts.
East’s star player LeBron James scored 30 points, while Atlanta’s Kyle Korver made seven three-pointers and scored 21 points and Washington’s John Wall had 19 but they failed to inspire their side to the victory.
Local hero Carmelo Anthony scored just 14 points for the East in what is seen as his final game of the season. The New York Knicks star is expected to go for a surgery to cure his knee.
The West were off to a great start as they raced off to a 20-point lead at the end of the first quarter. But East narrowed down the gap to 83-82 at half-time, during which pop star Ariana Grande dished out an eye-catching performance.
New York hosted the event for the first time after 1998 and as expected it was a grand affair with the creme de la creme of the country in attendance.
Christina Aguilera belted out some hits to start the show before Rockettes joined her on the stage.
The entertainment world’s elite were in attendance in the form of Jay-Z, besides star boxer Floyd Mayweather but it was former US President Bill Clinton who got the loudest cheer from the packed crowd when he was shown on TV screens during Queen Latifah’s national anthem performance.
NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson were also present. The next edition of the NBA All Star Weekend will be held in Toronto, Canada.