Feb 26, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Western Conference guard Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs (9) shoots as he is defended by Eastern Conference center Roy Hibbert (24) of the Indiana Pacers in the second quarter in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
The West All-Stars were able to hold off a furious East comeback in the final stretch of the game to grab the 152-149 victory. A lot of records were broken tonight, from Kobe Bryant passing Michael Jordan for first all-time on the All-Star Game scoring list to the record breaking halftime score of 88-69. Dwyane Wade recorded a triple double, LeBron James tied an All-Star Game record with 6 three pointers, and Kevin Durant got his first MVP award with 36 points and 7 rebounds.
In a night heavy on the Nicki Minaj, light on the crowd noise, and including Derrick Rose watch his fellow Eastern starters joke around and dance during player introductions with an incredible look of disappointment and disgust on his face, it's a pleasant surprise the game ended up being a thriller in the final minutes given how dominate the West was from the opening tip of this game. But once the constant barrage of alley oops and flashy plays subside, the two sides are bound to play some basketball at some point, and some key plays on both the positive and negative end for James would result in a close victory for the Western Conference this year.
The national side of the story is exciting, but all things considered, however, it was an exciting experience for the Indiana Pacers representative Roy Hibbert in his first All-Star appearance. It was great to see Big Roy out there playing with the best players in the league. In his first stint, Hibbert looked like he was a little unsure about what he wanted to do, looking to not get in the way of other players, drawing no iron on his first shot, but once he settled in and started having fun, he got in the way of other players, diving on the floor after a loose ball and boxing out Marc Gasol so Andre Iguodala could land a pair of points for the East.
Hibbert got his first All-Star points late in the third quarter when he tipped a Chris Bosh miss into an and-one bucket. As he went to the free throw line, the familiar smile Pacers fans have grown fond of was in full force as the big fella got his points and finally felt a part of the All-Star experience. Roy ended up with 3 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in his 10 minutes of action. Modest, but still exciting to see if only because a Pacer was a part of the game for the first time in three seasons.
In the end, it was a long road for Hibbert to get to the All-Star game, and I can't imagine a single person besides Roy would've had the big man an All-Star on Draft Night in 2008, much less this early into his career. Better yet, while this was Hibbert's first rodeo, it doesn't seem as if it has to be his last. With the lack of big men talent around the league, especially in the East, Hibbert should be in the mix for an All-Star bid annually, giving him the opportunity to continue to grow within national circles to find himself on that familiar list of Georgetown center greats. More importantly, with the game tonight and opportunities in the future, he'll continue to have a chance to grow into one of the Pacer greats.