All-Star game may get hostile, says West coach Popovich

Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:08pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Players and coaches concede that Sunday's NBA All-Star game is a show for the fans yet when the game is on the line, action on the basketball court could become a little hostile.

"The main object is fun ... the players want to show their talents and they want to play with each other. Certain players are never going to play with somebody else on the same team," said West coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.

"But when you get to the fourth quarter it gets serious they want to win. Things get a little chippy and very competitive."

The West has won the last two games, including 152-149 last season in Orlando behind 36 points by Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"It's an unbelievable weekend for the fans to be able to put all of their favorite players together in one venue," said Miami's LeBron James, who tied Durant's 36 points last season in a losing effort for the East. "We have a great time with it."

James admitted the first half was a "feel out process."

"The second half, everyone's competitive nature kicks in," he added. "At that point, both teams want to win."

West starting guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said the All-Star game "means everything."   Continued...

(L-R) NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant (35) of Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul of Los Angeles Clippers, LeBron James (6) of Miami Heat, Blake Griffin of the Clippers and Dwyane Wade of Miami Heat watch a young fan during a dance contest during practice for the NBA All-Star basketball game in Houston, Texas February 16, 2013. The All-Star game will be played on February 17. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)