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NBA All-Star Game 2011

By Padya Paramita

Since the play-offs are currently going on we thought we'd take a trip back to the All-Star game, one of the year's most glamourous affairs. Every year just before the playoffs, the NBA All-Star exhibition basketball match takes place between two teams representing the East and the West respectively. Twelve of the best players from the two conferences, who have impressed with their performances throughout the league, get a chance to play the game. The 2011 edition was held in Staples Centre, Los Angeles on 20th February 2011.

The West had the LA crowd on its side and was led by the Lakers' ever-dependable Kobe Bryant, who received strong support from Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Yao Ming. Their bench was a mix of young and old, with rookies Griffin and Love making their first all-star game appearance while Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki made their 13th and 10th appearances respectively.

The East seemed the better side on paper, as their starting line-up consisted of Miami duo LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, along with "Superman" Dwight Howard, New York's Amare Stoudemire and Chicago's Derrick Rose. They had a strong substitute bench that boasted the likes of Boston's Big Four: Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo.

The match was breathtaking mainly because of the stardom boasted by both line-ups. In the evenly contested games, many spectators got what they wanted - a good show from arguably the two best active basketball players Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Amare Stoudemire finished with 29 points for the East while Dwayne Wade, the previous year's MVP had to leave with an ankle injury. "King" LeBron James tried his best and certainly outshone his Eastern team-mates. He finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the game, but his glory was overshadowed by Los Angeles Clippers' rookie Blake Griffin and reigning NBA champion LA Lakers' own king Kobe Bryant.

Both Griffin and Bryant feeling at home at Staples Centre dazzled the LA crowd with sublime skills that clearly proved the West was the better team. Kobe Bryant was the real star among the numerous Hollywood superstars present. The West held a double-digit lead for most of the game.

The climax of the game took place in the third quarter when Bryant snuck past LeBron to dunk, followed by a three-pointer which gave West a 92-81 lead. In the next minute, he pulled of one more dunk. Bryant finished with 37 points, 14 rebounds and three steals on the night, assisted by Oklahoma's Kevin Durant (34 points) and the Lakers' Pau Gasol who finished with 17 points.

The East managed to narrow down the margin and the game finished with the Western conference winning, with the final score of 148-143. Kobe Bryant was named Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game for the fourth time in his career, and he modestly thanked his home crowd stating that they motivated him to put on a good show.

The curtains drew on the 60th edition of the NBA All-Star weekend with 32-year-old Kobe Bryant putting on an age-defying performance. The outstanding match even made up for the times Justin Bieber was displayed on-screen!

Last week, we had the topic "Black Magic". The piece below, though it stuck to the topic with fervour, was nicely written and hinted at a fear we've nurtured since the beginning of our species. Next week, our topic will be: Singing the blues. Submissions have to be within 500 words and should be sent to ds.risingstars@gmail.com no later than Sunday noon.

Black Magic

By Ayushi Khan

Twelve minutes to midnight. The night air was damp, cold and still. She walked down the lone road in silence, the sound of her shoes on the hard sidewalk punctuated by the beating of her heart.

She shivered as a cool breeze ran through the air. Her cheeks and nose were already numb from the chill. Pulling her jacket tighter around herself, she picked up the pace. The world seemed so silent. The quiet was unsettling.

From the corner of her eye, she saw something move. She quickly turned. It was gone. What was that? Was it the shadows, or her mind playing tricks on her? She continued walking. And she saw it again. A figure. A dark, black figure. Moving rapidly, staying in the shadows. With a quick glance behind her, she started walking faster.

I'm being watched, she thought. She could feel that the cold, cruel eyes of the dark figure were locked on her. Before she knew it, she was running. Running full tilt, gasping in breath after breath. The figure followed. Followed her without making a sound.

She sprained her ankle. Tripped. Struggled to get up. She looked back and gaped as the figure closed in on her. He was dressed in darkness. There was a hood over his face. His eyes, glowing bright yellow, stood out like two shining embers of coal. He rose. Rose four feet above the ground.

The darkness spread out. Spread out and stretched, stretched all around her.

Ding. Ding. The clock struck twelve. She gasped as the darkness surrounded her.

Ding. Ding. She could hear the clock, but it sounded faint. Now all she could see was black. It was all black. She started to feel a strange pull. And she knew that the shadow was swallowing her, swallowing her up.

Ding. Ding. The clock took its time to chime, but it all happened so fast. The darkness sucked her in it, now becoming a thick blanket that covered her, weighing her down. She opened her mouth to utter a scream, but the sound was muffled. She could feel things entering her mouth. She struggled and kicked her feet, but no matter what, she couldn't fight it off

Ding. Ding. She felt the night's cold creeping inside her now, inside her body. She struggled to breathe. She started feeling light, started to feel herself give away…

Ding. Ding. She knew she was fading. She knew she was fading away to be part of the darkness. I think I can float, she thought.

Ding. Ding. The last two sounds she heard before she completely gave away.

Eighteen minutes after midnight. Another girl walked down the lone street. Glancing around uncomfortably, she sped up. A chill ran down her spine.

I'm being watched; she had that dreadful feeling, and noticed a figure quickly move to hide in the shadows.


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