NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Chris Paul delighted his hometown crowd with the nifty passing and clutch shooting they've seen all season.
If only the West had won, he might have had a shot at the All-Star MVP award.
That honor went to LeBron James, who had 27 points in the Eastern Conference's 134-128 victory on Sunday night.
Paul's All-Star debut was a memorable one nonetheless, thanks to a dominant fourth quarter performance that helped the West overcome a double-digit deficit and briefly take the lead.
Paul had 16 points and 14 assists, with nine points and seven assists coming in the fourth quarter alone.
Hornets coach Byron Scott, who coached the West, said before the game he would prefer to limit the minutes of Paul and David West, given that New Orleans gets back into its tough Western Conference schedule on Wednesday night at home against Dallas.
However, Scott left himself some wiggle room, saying he would leave any player on the floor if his role in the game dictated it.
able to limit West to 16 minutes. West, also a first-time All-Star, finished with six points and four rebounds.
But Scott couldn't bring himself to pull Paul in the fourth quarter, not with New Orleans' third-year point-guard driving the West's comeback attempt.
With the game in the balance, however, Paul's enthusiasm got the best of him and cost the West dearly. He was called for setting an illegal screen that sent Ray Allen crashing to the floor during a possession on which the West could have tied the game with 36 seconds to go.
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