Arne Duncan and the East Win 2014 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game
East 60, West 56
MVP: Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education)
NEW ORLEANS -- As usual, Duncan and Jordan were the best players on the floor.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and actor Michael B. Jordan led their respective teams at the Sprint Celebrity Game on Friday, with Duncan's East prevailing 60-56. Duncan filled the box score with 20 points (a Celeb Game record), 11 rebounds and six assists -- the last of which was a sweet, behind-the-head dish to a cutting Skylar Diggins of the WNBA for a critical bucket down the stretch.
A couple of possessions later, Diggins found musician/actor Romeo Miller on the right wing for a 3-pointer that put the East up for good. The West missed six free throws and several lay ups in the closing moments and simply didn't have the chemistry that the East had with Duncan, Diggins and Miller.
"I'm just happy to get a win," Duncan said afterward. "This was a really competitive game."
Beyond the East's big three, NBA TV's Kristen Ledlow earned some redemption for her Inside the NBA performance (when she lost a free-throw contest to Shaquille O'Neal) by hitting two first-half buckets that helped the East climb out of a 10-point hole.
"I wasn't thinking about anything except scoring a couple of buckets in order to redeem myself after losing to Shaq on national television," she said. "Shaq could not do what I just did. Well, he could at one point. But not anymore and I know that."
Jordan tried his best to lead the West to victory, but was the focus of the East's aggressive defense. He finished with 16, to go along with seven rebounds.
"He's not the best Michael Jordan I've ever seen," Ledlow said. "But he's a pretty solid Michael Jordan."
That wasn't enough for the West, who were undone by Kevin Hart's over-dribbling. Fittingly, Hart was voted as MVP by the fans for his selfish play that helped his opponent pick up the victory, but he smartly and selflessly gave the due to the game's true MVP, Duncan.
Also representing the WNBA, 2012 WNBA Finals MVP Tamika Catchings and 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne who played well but admitted to toning down the competitive drive a little in the spirit of having fun.
"You know that's what it's all about," Catchings told WNBA.com after the game. "Everybody's like 'we need you to take over' and I'm like 'I'm trying not to get hurt, how about that?' But it was fun and it was great to have Skylar and Elena out there."
You can catch Diggins and Delle Donne as well as Swin Cash and Becky Hammon tomorrow in the Shooting Stars contest.