Kobe Bryant scored 21 points in the first half to take an early commanding lead in the race for 2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP honors. Stars playing in front of their home crowd typically earn a built-in advantage in these races, and considering that fans vote for the MVP, Kobe's an instant favorite regardless. But Bryant left nothing to chance by taking a game-high 14 shots to taking the scoring lead. He also had a game-high six rebounds.
Lakers teammate Pau Gasol had a solid half off the bench with 12 points on perfect 6-6 shooting. Kevin Durant scored 15 as the West held a 76-64 lead at halftime. Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh led the East All-Stars with 12 points off the bench. His Miami co-stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored six and 10 points, respectively.
Russell Westbrook, who grew up in Los Angeles, had a rousing stint in the second quarter, scoring eight points in seven points. One of Russ' buckets came on a powerful transition dunk that momentarily sparked an otherwise dead-silent crowd.