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Shaq earns MVP as West prevails in NBA showcase
LOS ANGELES -- In an All-Star game that was all about dunks, Tim Duncan's made free throw -- a rarity on this evening -- with 2.1 seconds left provided an anticlimactic ending to the NBA's showcase event.
In a game featuring 44 dunks and 16 botched free throws -- half of the 32 that were attempted -- the West defeated the East 136-132 Sunday night.
Shaquille O'Neal was the game's MVP with 24 points in 24 minutes -- 18 of them on dunks. Kobe Bryant -- the other hometown player -- added 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting.
Bryant had a steal and what should have been a 3-pointer with 1:20 left, but the officials only counted it as a 2-pointer -- tying the game 131-131.
O'Neal fouled Tracy McGrady with 37 seconds left, but McGrady could only make one of two from the line. The West got the ball to Duncan on its next possession for a 10-foot bank shot that put them ahead 133-132 with 26.1 seconds left.
McGrady's alley-oop pass to Jermaine O'Neal went out of bounds, and Ray Allen's two free throws with 14.4 seconds left put the West ahead by three.
The East got the ball to sharpshooting first-time All-Star Michael Redd for a 3-point attempt, but the Milwaukee Bucks' shooting guard came up short and Duncan was fouled after grabbing the rebound.
He calmly made the free throw, and that was it.