By BETH HARRIS (AP Sports Writer)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James nearly brought the East team back in the NBA All-Star game. In the end, though, he and his Miami Heat buddies couldn’t keep Kobe Bryant and the West from victory.
James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists — the second triple-double in the game’s 60-year history — in the East’s 148-143 loss on Feb. 20 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Just tried to showcase my talents on both ends of the floor, defending, rebounding, scoring,” James said. “I’m all about winning, so just a little disappointed in our game… disappointed that we didn’t win.”
The East was loaded with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Heat, along with the Boston quartet of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. But they never managed more than a four-point lead, and that came at the start of the game.
The East fell behind by 17 points going into the fourth quarter, when they outscored the West 43-31, helped by James’ 14 points.
James returned two minutes into the fourth and soon scored on a driving layup. He made three straight free throws to get his team within 11. He was especially dominant over the final 5:41, scoring five in a row to cut the East’s deficit to nine.
James made two free throws that left the East trailing by two with 2 1/2 minutes to go. But Kevin Durant hit a 3-pointer for the West. James tried again, driving to the basket for another score that had his team down by two. But they never got any closer.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who led the West with 37 points and 14 rebounds, was named MVP in front of his local fans. New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire also had 29 points for the East.