As in any basketball game, the biggest cheers were reserved for the tall, strapping players who performed the dunks, but it was the passing game of Chris Paul, which left a lasting imprint on the minds at the 2013 NBA All-Star game on Sunday.
One of the shortest players on the field, Paul dazzled with his court-craft and ball-handling skills to help the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 143-138 in the high-profile clash. Last year's MVP, Kevin Durant, top-scored with 30 points. However, Paul's elegant and effective play won over the fans, who voted him as the MVP. He became the third player to have at least 20 points and 15 assists in the midseason showcase, joining Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas.
Paul started the game brilliantly and helped the West establish an early lead, scoring a three-pointer and laying an assist for Kobe Bryant to score. The moment of the match came when he dribbled through Chris Bosh's legs while driving in from the right to bring the roof down. The West managed to stay ahead except for a brief period during the second quarter.
“It's an honour and a privilege to play with all those great players,” Paul said unassumingly.
“He (Paul) played a hell of a game,” said Durant. As for his own show, Durant, the Oklahoma City forward, said, “I’m just out there having fun. I played a lot of street basketball. This is my type of ballgame, up and down.”
The two biggest names in the NBA, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, however, were strangely subdued. They only seemed to excel towards the end of the final quarter when James made a bid for victory.
The writer's trip is sponsored by Sony Six