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Kobe shines brightest of All Stars in West victory

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(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant won a record-tying fourth All-Star Game most valuable player award as he led the Western Conference to a 148-143 victory in front of his home fans on Sunday.

Bryant electrified a celebrity-filled Staples Center crowd with an array of slam dunks and led all players with 37 points and 14 rebounds.

"I wanted to come out and play hard and put on a good show," said Bryant, who joins Bob Pettit as the only player to win four All-Star MVP trophies. "It feels great being at home here and playing in front of the home crowd."

LeBron James recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the East, which pulled to within two points with 72 seconds left to set up an intense finish after a game filled with highlight-reel dunks and trickery.

Laker Pau Gasol scored 17 points and delighted his home fans with a putback that gave the West a four-point lead with under a minute left.

NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder poured in 34 points and sealed the victory for the West with a pair of free throw with five seconds to play.

Amare Stoudemire tied a team-high with 29 points for the East, which trailed for virtually the whole game, but every player ended the night looking up at Kobe.

During one dominant sequence in the third, Bryant threw down a two-handed dunk over James then swished a quick three-pointer that drew a roar from the crowd, which included Jay-Z and Beyonce, Hall of Fame players Clyde Drexler and David Robinson as well as Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.

"He wanted to win the MVP, he wasn't going to pass the ball. But that's Kobe," Stoudemire said.

The only player drawing cheers equal to Bryant's was Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, who captured the Slam Dunk Contest a day earlier and finished with eight points.

Boston, the only team to feature four players in the game, put its quartet of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo on the floor together in the first quarter and drew loud boos from the rival Los Angeles crowd.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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