In a proud city still restoring its unique beauty, the Eastern Conference repaired its own image.
Ray Allen scored 28 points, making three straight 3-pointers in the final 3:15, and LeBron James added 27 as the East, widely considered the NBA's weaker half, beat the Western Conference 134-128 in Sunday night's All-Star Game.
Last year, the West humiliated the East in a 153-132 rout in Las Vegas when Kobe Bryant and Co. rewrote the event's record books. However, this time led by Allen's 14 fourth-quarter points and a stunning dunk by James with 55 seconds left, the East salvaged some pride and can return to the season's second half with bragging rights.
James, who added nine assists and eight rebounds, was the MVP for the second time in three years. He also won the honor in 2006.
Amare Stoudemire, Brandon Roy and Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points apiece to lead the West, which trailed by 13 entering the fourth quarter and rallied behind New Orleans' Chris Paul. The guard's seventh assist of the final period set up Roy's layup to give the West a 122-119 lead.
But Boston's Allen, the final player added to either roster, knocked down his second 3-pointer in 48 seconds to tie it before Paul answered with a 3 of his own, sending the hometown crowd into a frenzy.
Allen finally missed and James poked away the ball, and then came up with the night's most stirring moment.
Slashing through the lane, Cleveland's megastar rose and dunked over several West defenders, much like he did in Game 5 of last year's Eastern Conference finals in Detroit when he scored the Cavaliers' final 25 points.
Paul was called for an offensive foul on the West's next trip. Dwyane Wade hit a layup and Allen scored to make it 131-125. Roy's 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds brought the West within three, but Allen made three free throws to close it out.
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