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O’Neal-Bryant have a party as West win

other Updated: Feb 16, 2009 23:33 IST
Sahil Sharma
Sahil Sharma
Hindustan Times
O’Neal-Bryant have a party as West win

The lights are off and the music is over. The DJ has been paid and the fans have gone home. The party is over. But what a party it was! The city of Phoenix didn't sleep for the last three days with the excitement and the entertainment refusing to end. Parents must be bankrupt after extended hours of shopping with the kids in the NBA store, buying jerseys, basketballs and lot more merchandise. But, as all great movies have a gripping climax, the carnival that is called the NBA All Star weekend had one such fitting climax — The All Star game.

The anticipation of the game had been building up for weeks and the product didn't disappoint at all. The Western Conference played a complete game to convincingly beat the Eastern Conference 146-119 at the US Airways Center, here on Sunday. The much-awaited return of the O'Neal-Bryant partnership turned out to be too much for the East to handle, as they didn't have any answers for their play.

The duo also grabbed the joint 'All Star MVP Title'; maybe the last one for O'Neal, who indicated this being his last All Star match.

"I am 37 now and I don't know for how long I will be able to continue playing this great sport," said O'Neal. He may be having doubts over his future but his play on the court and his antics off it still makes the crowd stand up. The hometown boy made a classic entrance in the arena, dancing and moving with a local dance troupe to set the tone for an exciting evening. The East came out all guns blazing, taking a 20-8 lead. But this would be the last time they would be on top, as it was all West after the first quarter.

Coach Phil Jackson unleashed the deadly duo, which ran havoc on the Eastern Conference with some sleek passing and ball control. O'Neal too displayed his dunking skills as he slammed four consecutive dunks to get the crowd going. Another player who troubled East was Tony Parker. Egged on by his wife Eva Longoria from courtside, Parker was one of the top scorers for the West.