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Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, playing on the same team for the first time in nearly five years, showed a little of what could have been (a.k.a. more NBA titles) in the Western Conference’s dominating 146-119 win. Kobe (game-high 27 points) and Shaq (17 points in 11 minutes) were named co-MVPs, as each player won the award for the third time.
Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett represented the Eastern Conference the best they could, but poor shooting overall crippled the East’s chances. Kevin Garnett started and finished a perfect 5-5 from the field with 12 points. Pierce added 18 points off the bench and Ray Allen contributed eight points on 4-10 shooting (0-3 from beyond the arc).
Shaq looked like the old version of the big fella in his 11 minutes, including one play where he passed the ball to Chris Paul through Dwight Howard’s legs on a give-and-go and finished the play with an emphatic dunk. In another play, Kobe fed Shaq the ball among three defenders, and Shaq snatched it out of the air and put it through with ease.
Things were easy for Shaq because it was obvious the East gave up too much size to the West. Chris Bosh (6’10″) did not play due to injury, and was replaced by Cavs point guard Mo Williams, leaving Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard as the only East players at least 6’10″. The West had five such players (Shaq, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, and Yao Ming).
The Celtics are off until Thursday when they resume their road trip Thursday in Utah against the Jazz.
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