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Kobe Ties Record With 4th All-Star MVP

Could Kobe Bryant’s 12th All-Star game, in which he locked up his fourth MVP award to match Bob Pettit’s all-time record, have been his finest?

His first came way back in 1998, when at 19, he was the youngest All-Star in NBA history. On Sunday afternoon at STAPLES Center it was 13 years later, but his legs looked explosive like they had in the late 90′s.

No. 24 looked more like No. 8 as he rose for an array of dunks from various angles, including a baseline reverse early in the first that may have been the best dunk of a game in which he tallied a personal career high of 37 points.

"He’s one hell of a player,” said Western Coach Gregg Popovich. "He’s Kobe. He does things like that, we shouldn’t be surprised.”

Five dunks, an array of jumpers and drives, two three-pointers and seven free throws helped him along the way to the 37 that were just five points shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time All-Star record of 42 points, set back in 1963.

"Let’s he honest, Kobe had it going, to say the least,” said East Coach Doc Rivers.

Thirty-two of Bryant’s points had already come by the 6:14 mark of the third quarter, enough to surpass his previous personal high of 31 that he scored in both 2002 and 2007. He had little left in the legs after that, but his sustained burst had given the lead a 17-point lead.

"Just being around so many young players gave me so much energy,” said Bryant of his effort. "But in the fourth quarter, I had nothing left. I exceeded my dunk quota for the game.

It wasn’t just the scoring on this day from Bryant, however, as he grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds to go with three assists and three steals. His previous high in boards in an All-Star game was seven, which he grabbed in both 2003 and 2006.

Bryant’s Lakers teammate Pau Gasol chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds, most critically a tip-in of Bryant’s missed jumper with 53 seconds left, pushing what had been just a two-point lead back to four and eventually locking up a game the West had mostly dominated.

Bryant’s MVP trophy will now go up in what’s already a ridiculous trophy case, but as he explained after the game, it’s now time to focus on getting a different kind of trophy for the third straight season.

"We’re looking forward to it, we’re up for the challenge,” he concluded. "We all can’t wait to get started.”

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1 Ian  
However, I have not seen even the rumor of a trade that did not involve D12, that I thguoht made us a contender_______________________________I actually just sent you the newest Howard to LA rumor, which I will not discuss here. It is a three-way. The basic issues with your position are simple: 1. If the Lakers did what you want them to do (kitchen sink for Howard + bad contracts) I think there is about a 50-70% chance Howard would walk.2. Even if he didn't walk, the Lakers would not be favorites in any sense against OKC, MIA and CHI during the remainder of Kobe's contract with Howard/Kobe/Turkoglu/Duhon/MWP/McRob etc. They need to bring in some talent WITH Howard IN the deal to have any shot to get to that level. NBA.com's new advanced stats database has some very good stuff on player profiles, including shot chart data. Playing with it today, I saw these numbers for shots in the restricted area, (at the rim) for three players: Fisher 866 minutes 10/30Blake 526 minutes 4/10Sessions 784 minutes 44/94As with any stat, there are situational caveats. The Lakers have two elite post players and they have Kobe; Cleveland has no elite post players. But it still tells you something: Sessions can get to the rim far more easily than Fisher or Blake can and he is more likely to put the ball in the basket when he gets there. And that is the real issue with the Lakers 1s and 3s: they are not threats. Fisher is one of the toughest guys in the NBA and is still a great leader. But he can't play pick-and-roll, he can't drive and kick, he can't draw the D, and he can't finish. All he can really do is pass the ball into the post or give it to Kobe and the other team KNOWS that. That is why they can set up their defenses the way they do, and that puts more pressure on everybody. Kobe sometimes reponds to that pressure by taking 22-footers with guys draped all over him, and he should definitely do that less often. But if the D actually had to worry about the other two guys on the floor, and they would have to worry about Beasley and Sessions, that would certainly help the Lakers quite a bit. Enough to get titles? Probably not, but that statement is equally true of kitchen sink-for-Howard. So, WADR I think you should reconsider the use of the diminutives you always use tweak, tinker etc and start calling these moves what they would actually be: upgrades on the offensive side of the basketball.

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