In the end, in this era, in the All-Star Game, it tends to be one against the other.
As was the case last year in Orlando, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James gave fans what they have never had a chance to see during the NBA Finals, a matchup between them down the stretch. Bryant had two blocks of James in the final six minutes, in the West’s 143-138 victory.
“Does that surprise you?” Heat and East coach Erik Spoelstra said after the confrontation. “That’s what those guys live for.”
Last year, Bryant mocked James for not taking a shot, and choosing to attempt a pass that became a turnover.
This time?
“Me?” Bryant asked rhetorically. “Trash talk? Never. I don’t do that. I’m a nice guy. But I didn’t want him to score on me.”
What was Bryant saying to James?
“A little bit of everything,” James said.
“He said I fouled him and I said, ‘’Well yeah, I pretty much foul every play,’” Bryant said. “I’’m an 80s baby. That’s pretty much what we do.”
This wasn’t the best All-Star night for the Heat, with James a bit off his game (7 of 18) and Chris Bosh the author of three airballs — and the victim of one crossover (Bryant) and two “nutmegs,” with Chris Paul and Tony Parker both dribbling between his legs.