Sports


Rice Cooks As East Triumphs Charlotte Star’s Big Second Half Helps Decide Nba All-Star Game

MONDAY, FEB. 10, 1997

Glen Rice and most of his teammates spent most of halftime in awe of the NBA’s top 50 players who were honored at the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Then the Charlotte Hornets’ swingman went out and put on an awe-inspiring, record-setting performance to lead the Eastern Conference to a tremendous come-from-behind 132-120 victory over the shocked Western Conference at Gund Arena.

Rice, who missed six of his first seven shots in the first half, made four straight 3-point attempts in the third quarter on the way to All-Star records of 20 points in the period and 24 points in the second half to earn Most Valuable Player honors.

“No matter how many shots I’m missing, I try to really stay focused and always rely on my jumper and realize that eventually it is going to start falling for me,” he said after finishing with a game-high 26 points.

Rice made only 10 of 24 shots but hit 8 of 11 in the third quarter, when the East’s game plan worked to perfection. Chicago’s Michael Jordan finished with 14 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for the first triple double in All-Star history.

The West led 53-30 in the second quarter, and East coach Doug Collins had to play many of his starters fairly large minutes in an attempt to get back in the game and prevent a blowout. And get back they did.

With a backcourt-dominated unit of 6-foot-10 Christian Laettner of Atlanta, 6-7 Anfernee Hardaway of Orlando, 6-8 Grant Hill of Detroit, 6-7 Scottie Pippen of Chicago and the 6-6 Jordan, the East ran off 17 straight points to begin a 25-4 run to end the half, leaving the West ahead 60-57.

Collins then went to a third-quarter lineup of Rice, Laettner, Pippen, Terrell Brandon of Cleveland and Vin Baker of Milwaukee, with the intent of getting Rice going. He ranks sixth in league scoring at 25 points per game.

“When you’re talking reserves, they are still great players, not like the 10th and 11th persons on your bench in a regular game,” Collins said. “We needed to get back into the game in the second quarter and we did that, so we were all right.”

By halftime, the East was feeling better about itself; the West was wondering what happened.

Said West guard Mitch Richmond of the Kings: “We thought the game was over. We were talking about picking up our checks. I mean, we were hitting our shots and running the floor. Then we stopped getting back on defense and they got a couple of cheap baskets and some easy baskets and they were rolling.”

Hardaway felt the momentum swing in the second quarter.

“They stopped playing, and we started playing more defense,” he said. “Then Glen got on the roll in the third. He’s been playing like that for about the past two or three months, so it didn’t surprise me at all. We wanted to get him the ball and see if he could get hot, and he did.”

Brandon, the hometown hero, found Rice on three straight possessions. Those shots - all 3-pointers - never touched the rim. The East’s 25-4 run expanded to 38-4 to start the second half.

The spurt eventually stretched to 44-7 after Rice’s fourth three-pointer of the quarter. At that point, the players on the East’s bench were standing with their arms up, signaling the three whenever he touched the ball.

Jordan’s intensity helped key the comeback. As Hill missed the second of two free throws late in the second quarter, Jordan was talking with Richmond near the top of the key. A split second later, Jordan was dunking Hill’s miss.

“He suckered me,” Richmond admitted. “He was talking to me about what I’d done (Saturday night), and then he was gone.”

East 132, West 120

FG FT Reb WEST Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Malone 20 2-8 0-0 1-4 0 0 4 Kemp 19 4-7 1-2 1-4 1 1 10 Olajuwon 20 5-8 1-2 0-3 1 1 11 Payton 28 7-15 2-2 0-1 10 2 17 Stockton 20 5-6 0-0 0-0 5 2 12 Richmond 22 3-7 0-0 1-3 4 1 9 Sprewell 25 7-12 4-6 1-3 1 2 19 Gugliotta 19 3-7 3-4 1-8 3 3 9 Garnett 18 1-7 4-4 1-9 1 2 6 Jones 17 3-4 4-7 1-1 1 1 10 Schrempf 20 5-8 0-1 1-4 2 3 11 Gatling 12 1-8 0-0 0-2 0 1 2 Team 11 Totals 240 46-97 19-28 8-53 29 19 120

FG FT Reb EAST Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Pippen 25 4-9 0-0 0-3 2 0 8 Hill 22 4-7 3-4 2-3 2 2 11 Mutombo 15 1-5 1-2 2-8 0 0 3 Jordan 26 5-14 4-7 3-11 11 4 14 A.Hardaway 24 7-10 2-2 4-7 3 2 19 Baker 24 8-12 3-4 7-12 1 2 19 Brandon 17 4-11 0-0 1-3 8 2 10 Webber 14 1-4 0-0 1-4 3 3 2 T.Hardaway 14 4-10 0-0 0-3 2 1 10 Rice 25 10-24 2-2 1-1 1 2 26 Dumars 10 1-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 3 Laettner 24 3-5 1-1 4-11 2 4 7 Team 9 Totals 240 52-115 16-22 25-76 36 22 132

West 34 26 27 33 - 120 East 21 36 40 35 - 132

3-Point Goals-West 9-21 (Richmond 3-4, Stockton 2-2, Kemp 1-2, Sprewell 1-3, Schrempf 1-3, Payton 1-5, Gugliotta 0-1, Jones 0-1), East 12-29 (Rice 4-7, A.Hardaway 3-5, Brandon 2-4, T.Hardaway 2-6, Dumars 1-4, Pippen 0-3). A-20,592 (20,562).


 
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