ORLANDO, Fla. — Kobe Bryant took Michael Jordan’s record, then nearly lost the game to LeBron James.
Bryant and the best of the West held off a furious East comeback, winning 152-149 in the NBA All-Star game on Sunday night.
Bryant scored 27 points, moving past Jordan as the career scoring leader in the game. MVP Kevin Durant had 36, and Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook finished with 21.
James and the East cut a 21-point deficit to one in the closing seconds, but weren’t able to move in front. James had 36 points and fellow Heat star Dwyane Wade finished with a triple-double.
Blake Griffin scored 22 points for the West, which rang up 89 points in the first half, setting an All-Star record. But he won the game with his defense, picking off James’ pass when the East had a chance to tie in the final seconds.
“I can’t turn the ball over like that,” James said. “I let my team down, but overall it was a great weekend.”
Griffin then hit one free throw with 1.1 seconds left, and Wade was off on a 3-point attempt from the corner. He finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, joining Jordan and James as the only players with All-Star game triple-doubles.
Durant was the MVP, leaving Bryant tied for the All-Star record with his four. But he got a bigger mark in his 13th All-Star game.
He broke Jordan’s record of 262 points on a dunk with 4:57 left in the third quarter and now has 271 for his career. He entered with 244 and passed Oscar Robertson (246 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (251) earlier in the game.
It nearly wasn’t enough, as the East’s comeback had the crowd filled with entertainers and athletes chanting for defense — never a part of the All-Star game vocabulary — in the final seconds.
With Bryant covering him, James hit two long 3-pointers in the final period, and the East had a chance when Bryant, with the crowd loudly booing, missed a free throw with 18 seconds left and the West up 151-149.
“Just being a competitor,” James said. “They pretty much beat us up all game so we just wanted to make a game of it.”
But New Jersey’s Deron Williams was short on a 3-pointer, and after the East came up with it, James fired a pass into a crowd that Griffin intercepted.