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The Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated the Western Conference All-Stars 141-139 in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a basketball game. A record 108,713 NBA fans descended upon Cowboys Stadium to watch the best athletes in the world (the U.S. Basketball team – plus Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol) put on a show, and they were not disappointed; at least not until the very end.
The East led throughout the first three quarters, but the West mounted a furious comeback late in the third quarter cutting the deficit to nine points going into the final quarter. The West kept chipping away and drew even on a jumper from Chauncey Billups (17 points) with 1:05 remaining.
This is where it all went wrong for Dallas fans who had already watched their Mavericks fall to Dwayne Wade’s Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals. Following a rare minute-long scoring drought, Deron Williams somehow didn’t realize the game was tied, and fouled Wade with 12.7 seconds remaining. Wade, the game’s MVP (28 points, 11 assists, 5 steals), hit both free-throws under a chorus of boos, putting the East ahead 139-137.
Five seconds later Dirk Nowitzki got Dwight Howard to leave his feet on a signature shot-fake, and got to the stripe. The hometown hero nailed both free throws tying the game at 139-139. But, it was all for naught. With 5.0 seconds remaining, the Raptors big man Chris Bosh sealed the deal for the East with a pair of free-throws. Carmelo Anthony (27 points, 10 rebounds) missed on a three point attempt as time expired.
The Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (playing in his 13th All-Star game – tied for 6th all time), Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were part of an Eastern Conference team that scored a whopping 141 points, and outscored the West 56-24 on fast break points.
Paul Pierce, who won the three-point competition on Saturday night, scored eight points, shooting 50.0 percent from the field. Garnett also shot 50.0 percent from the field in scoring four points and snatching three boards. Rondo scored four points and tallied five assists, most of which were comprised of spectacular alley-oop passes to Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James.
All in all, it couldn’t have gone any better for the brains and brawn behind the event: Dallas Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones, Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban, and NBA commissioner David Stern. The largest crowd ever assembled to witness a basketball game watched the best athletes in the world compete in game that was decided in the final seconds. And to top it off, Shakira and Alicia Keyes put on a half-time show that left us wondering why the NFL decided to have a bunch of wrinkled old white dudes (The Who) that were popular in the 1970′s perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLIV.
Next year’s NBA All-Star game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Dallas Cowboys, David Stern, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Mark Cuban, NBA All-Star Game, Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash