WASHINGTON -- Vince Carter turned the corner on the baseline, got past Kobe Bryant and then took off. Once in air, he did a 360-degree spin before slamming the ball through the basket.
On a day of dunks, this was one to remember.
So was the marquee matchup of two of the NBA's young superstars in Sunday's NBA All-Star game.
They didn't guard each other all afternoon. But watching Bryant in his bright yellow shoes challenge Carter and vice versa when they were face-to-face was a treat for the fans at the MCI Center.
Bryant finished with 19 points and hit three straight baskets in the stretch as the West tried to hold off an East rally.
Carter and the East couldn't be cooled off in the final quarter, outscoring the West 41-21 to win 111-110.
Carter, who won the 2000 slam dunk contest but skipped this year's event because of a sore knee, didn't look like he was hurting.
That wasn't the Raptor kings only dunk. He had another spectacular windmill slam that brought the fans out of their seats.
Carter finished with 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting.
He also ran at Tim Duncan on the game's final play, causing the San Antonio stat to miss what might have been a game-winning shot.
Bryant didn't appear to be feuding with Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal.
During one TV shot, they clowned together on the bench, showing just how close they are.
Bryant also had seven assists Sunday, while shooting 9-of-17 from the field.
By CHRIS SHERIDAN
AP Basketball Writer
WASHINGTON -- Turns out the West isn't better than the East. At least not in the NBA All-Star game -- and certainly not when Allen Iverson's leading the way in the fourth quarter.
Iverson transformed what looked like a blowout loss into a thrilling, improbable 111-110 comeback victory for the Eastern Conference with a performance Sunday fitting of the 50th anniversary of the game.
He scored 15 of his 25 points in the final nine minutes, and Stephon Marbury hit two 3-pointers in the final 53 seconds as the East came back from a 21-point deficit.
While presenting the MVP award to Iverson, NBA commissioner David Stern, with a sly grin on his face, told Iverson that great basketball ''can be wrapped -- if you pardon the expression -- in very small packages.''
The comment was a clever reference to Iverson's height -- he is an inch or two shy of 6 feet -- and Iverson's rap album, which was criticized for its lyrics and led to a meeting with the commissioner.
The East trailed 95-74 with nine minutes left after the West dominated the first 39 minutes of the game behind its superior size. It appeared the game would come out looking like a mismatch that would back up all the Western Conference superiority theories that have been thrown around so frequently this season.
But the East started pecking away, and Iverson walked over to the scorer's table during a timeout and asked if anyone wanted to wager whether the East would make a comeback.
That's exactly what the East proceeded to do, with Jerry Stackhouse and Vince Carter making 3-point shots that were followed by a three-point play by Iverson to cut the West's lead to 100-96.
Iverson scored the East's next two points from the line, and Tracy McGrady tied it on a putback with 3:10 left.
Iverson scored the East's next five points, and a chant of ''M-V-P! M-V-P!'' was heard after his
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two foul shots gave the East a 105-104 lead.
But that chant might have revved up someone else, instead.
Someone named Kobe Bryant.
In a down-the-stretch performance reminiscent of his play in the Lakers' Game 4 overtime victory over Indiana in last year's NBA finals, Bryant kept getting the ball and putting it in the basket.
His short jumper made it 106-105, and his 20-footer gave the West a 108-105 lead with a minute left. Marbury, ecstatic over making his first All-Star appearance, tied on a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.
Bryant answered right back with another jumper, but Marbury did him one better with another 3-pointer that gave the East a 111-110 lead with 28 seconds left.
The West set up for a final shot after inbounding with 10.9 seconds left. Bryant got the ball, but with everybody in the building expecting him to shoot -- his injured teammate Shaquille O'Neal was probably certain of it -- Bryant faked Marbury off his feet and then threw the ball to Duncan for a short shot that missed before the buzzer.
''I was actually expecting him to shoot,'' Duncan said. ''I was wide open, he got me the ball and I should have finished it. It just didn't go down. It was a great final four minutes.''
Prior to that, it was almost an embarrassment for the East.
How bad was it? They fell behind 11-0, committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter and seemed incapable of stopping any of the big men from the West.
The starting frontcourt of Duncan, Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett finished with 14 points apiece, although Duncan was scoreless and Webber and Garnett had only two apiece in the fourth.
Iverson finished with 25, Carter had 16 and Ray Allen 15. Dikembe Mutombo grabbed 22 rebounds.
Bryant led the West with 19.
Despite the lopsided first quarter, there was an early defensive intensity of the type seldom seen in All-Star games. McGrady swatted away Bryant's first shot, a jumper, and Duncan retaliated by rejecting a dunk attempt by McGrady.
But while the West quickly recovered by pounding the ball down low, the East kept up its mistake-prone ways and errant outside shooting to such an extent that it was 11-0 by the first commercial break. A Webber-to-Garnett alley-oop play made the score 15-2, and the West took a 30-17 lead into the second quarter thanks in large part to 10 turnovers by the East. The East started to run more in the second quarter with Allen scoring nine of their first 11 points. Carter spun 360-degrees in the air -- just like he did in last year's dunk contest -- for a dunk that made it 45-36 with five minutes left in the half.
Carter converted a three-point play with 2:27 left in the half to make it 49-44, then slammed home a crowd-pleasing windmill dunk that made it a three-point game.
The West's Jason Kidd hit a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner before sinking a shot from behind midcourt at the halftime buzzer to make it 61-50.
Bryant bounced an alley-oop pass to Garnett off the backboard early in the third quarter for a one-handed slam that gave the West a 69-54 lead, and Antonio McDyess closed the quarter with a follow slam to give the West an 89-70 lead entering the fourth.
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