Love's All-Star night: no dancing, no dazzling dunks

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 6:51 AM

He scored 13, enjoying his bit part as dunkers dazzled.

Kevin Love thankfully made good on a promise when he was introduced as a Western Conference starter for the first time before Sunday’s 163-155 All-Star Game loss to the East.

He didn’t dance.

“I told you,” the Timberwolves forward said afterward.

Love kept his word Sunday by simply striking a pose when he was announced as a three-time All Star and a first-time starter and then he went out and did everything he said he hoped he might, except for anything that approached what he had called a “highlight” dunk.

He left those dunks to West teammates Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant and East star LeBron James and left the fancy plays to pal Kyrie Irving, who scored 15 of his 31 points and won game MVP honors for a fourth-quarter comeback after the East had trailed by as many as 18 points.

Love played nearly 33 minutes in his new role and came within a rebound of his usual double-double with a 13-point, nine-rebound night that included two three-pointers.

“I had a couple that went for me,” said Love, who attempted seven threes. “The big man is sometimes overlooked in this game unless your name is Blake Griffin. It was a great thing to be a part of. It was a lot of fun, starting in the game and also first time finishing.”

Included in his night, too, was a three-point air ball.

“That was indeed an air ball,” Love said. “It happens to the best of us.”

All-Star Game jitters?

“No, just catch and shoot,” Love said. “I threw it up there, didn’t draw iron. Scary.”

Griffin scored 38 points — as did Durant — and seven of those were first-quarter dunks that pushed the West to a lead that grew to 123-105 well into the third quarter before Irving and Carmelo Anthony brought the East back to win it in the fourth.

Anthony’s eight three-pointers set an All-Star Game record on a night when players from both teams led the arena in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who celebrated his birthday Wednesday.

“This was by far one of the most memorable All-Star weekends,” Anthony said, attributing part of that to the birthday celebration. “It was a great atmosphere.”

Particularly if you love offense.

The West attempted 127 shots, the East 115. Durant credited his 38 points and 10 rebounds this way: “You put up 127 shots and the rebounds just fall in your hands.”

The West led 89-76 by halftime alone and at one point East coach Frank Vogel barked at his team to get back on defense.

Well, sort of.

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  • Kevin Love of the Timberwolves, left, competed in the rare air of Miami Heat star LeBron James during the NBA All-Star Game.

  • Forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers took flight for an NBA All-Star Game staple — the uncontested dunk — for the Western Conference as the East’s LeBron James admired from a distance Sunday night in New Orleans.

  • NBA All-star game Eastern Conference 163, Western Conference 155

    Up next: Wolves vs. Indiana • 7 p.m. Wednesday • Target Center • TV: FSN/ESPN (830-AM)

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