Kobe-Shaq duo leads West in NBA All-Star Game

By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond

PHOENIX, Arizona (RushPRnews) 2/16/09– Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal took home MVP honors for the West in Sunday’s lopsided 146-119 All-Star Game win over the East in Phoenix.  Onetime teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers, the reunion brought back memories for both superstars.

“It felt like old times,” O’Neal said after being shipped off to Miami and Phoenix. “I miss those old days.” At the beginning of the decade, Kobe and Shaq led Los Angeles to three straight titles, forming one of the most feared duos in NBA history.

On Sunday, the Kobe-Shaq tandem was reunited for one more night. “Those two guys together are a deadly combination,” Eastern Conference coach Mike Brown said after watching both players dominate like they did under coach Phil Jackson.

The Eastern Conference has beating the Western Conference 34 times, while the West has won 23 times.

It was clear from the get go that the night would not belong to one man. Since the game was held in Phoenix, O’Neal was the fan favorite. With the additional pressure of having the weekend hosted in his team’s city, the 300-something-pound 7-footer decided to set the bar even before tipoff.

During the players’ introduction, the “Big Cactus,” as he’s been known since being traded to the Suns, may have sent a personal audition to “Dancing with the Stars,” with a sync chorography with the Jabbawockeez, a professional dance group.

Kobe Bryant was amused and decided to put on a show of his own. However, his was on the court. Bryant, the league’s reining MVP, set the tone by scoring 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting early in the game. He finished with a game-high 27 points, while O’Neal aka, had 17 points and five rebounds.

The Kobe-Shaq duo, a dynasty in their own right, left fans wondering what could have been if these two could have co-exist and remain with the Lakers.

In a game where players try one crazy shot after another and moves generally reserved for after practice, Shaq showed Dwight Howard that he is the one and only man of steel.

Both were squared up in front of each other and Howard was jokingly challenging O’Neal, not known for his finesse as a dribbler, to make a play. Nine times out of ten, Howard would have been able to stop O’Neal’s offense. Guess luck was not on his side. O’Neal passed the ball in between Howard’s legs and a teammate feed him back the ball for a monster jam for the highlight of the night.

The All-Star Game that wraps up a long weekend of activities saw global stars at the top of their game.

AP Photo courtesy of the Nation Basketball League

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