East rallies to win NBA All Star Game 163-155

Roy Hibbert poses with Rev. Jesse Jackson (Rich Nye photo)
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After giving up a record 89 points in the first half, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel finally convinced his East All-Stars to play some defense. The East rallied from an 18 point third quarter deficit to beat the West 163-155 Sunday night in the NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

Vogel called timeout in the third quarter and implored his East players to get back on defense.

"They all laughed at me," said Vogel. "I did say it with half a smile, and they all laughed at me. And I said, ‘If you care about winning, that's what you've got to do. It's up to you guys.'"

Pacers forward Paul George made his first All-Star start. George scored 18 points in 33 minutes. He played down the stretch as the East pulled off the comeback win. With less than two minutes to go, Blake Griffin fouled George on a three-point shot attempt. George knocked down all three free throws to give the East the lead for good.

"We made an emphasis at halftime to come out and play some defense," said George. "We didn't' want to be the team to give up 180 points. We had to play some kind of defense. We know it's an All-Star game but we wanted to make a comeback."

Roy Hibbert played well in the post, scoring eight points off the bench and only missing one shot. He also grabbed five rebounds.

"I think we turned it up and nobody can say the East is weak now," said Hibbert. "The group that we put out there that played tonight bested the West. I had fun. My shot went in. I felt good and got some rebounds and ran the floor a little bit. I got some nice swag this weekend, got some free stuff. I always come for the free stuff."

Frank Vogel's East team allowed an almost non-stop stream of alley-oop dunks and trailed by 13 at the half. Blake Griffin scored 18 points in the first quarter on nine jams. Griffin finished with 38 points, tied with Kevin Durant to lead the West. Kyrie Irving won MVP honors for the East, with 31 points and 14 assists.

The combined 318 points set an All-Star game record. The 163 points for the East is also a record for one team. The 155 points by the West tied the previous mark.

The Pacers resume the regular season with an Eastern Conference best record of 40-12. The Pacers host the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m.