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NBA All-Star Game: West 89, East 76 (halftime)

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- In a high-octane start, the Western Conference broke the one-half NBA All-Star Game scoring record while building an 89-76 lead at the break Sunday night.

The West's total eclipsed the 88 points posted by the West in the first half last year.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin led the way, scoring 18 first-quarter points, with eight of his nine baskets coming either dunks or layups. Griffin had 20 points in the half on 10-of-13 shooting.

"Guys were just looking for me," Griffin said. "It's an All-Star Game, and not a whole lot of defense is being played. I tried to take advantage of it. It's a lot of fun. This game is for the fans to put on a show and just have fun with it."

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant led all scorers with 22 first-half points, including a deep 3-pointer from the left wing that capped a 16-4 West run for a 72-60 lead. Durant made nine of 14 shots before intermission.

The East stayed within striking distance behind the outside gunning of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who had 20 first-half points. He made four of six shots from 3-point range before the break. Miami Heat forward LeBron James added 12 first-half points, and Cleveland Cavaliers guard registered seven points and seven assists.

NOTES: Los Angeles Lakers G Kobe Bryant, 35, said he is not sure if his body is finally giving out, which is why the rehab process from his knee injury is so intriguing even for him. "Part of the excitement -- of the challenge -- is that level of uncertainty," Bryant said. "It's (an) 'Are my best days behind me' sort of thing. To have those conversations with yourself and not be intimidated by that and not succumb to that is part of the challenge." ... Bryant said he was "optimistic coming out of the (All-Star) break that I will have some improvements." ... Asked to name his "Mt. Rushmore" of all-time NBA greats, Bryant tabbed Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Bill Russell. "That's impossible to do four, though," he said. "That's crazy."
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