NEW ORLEANS (AP) -The huge lead was gone, and another MVP award also was slipping away.
Then, with one powerful play, LeBron James snatched both back.
James threw down a mighty dunk for the go-ahead basket with 55 seconds left, punctuating an MVP performance and helping the Eastern Conference beat the West 134-128 on Sunday night in the All-Star game.
``He's just a powerful player with great speed and great feel,'' East coach Doc Rivers said. ``And that's tough to teach. You don't.''
James finished with 27 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, nearly joining Michael Jordan (1997) as the only players to have a triple-double in the All-Star game. James captured his second MVP award in the last three years, having also been honored in 2006 after he sparked the East's big rally in a 122-120 victory in Houston.
y took the team on his back.''
James does that all the time in Cleveland, carrying a team with mediocre talent to the NBA finals last year. On Sunday, the NBA's scoring leader showed he can do it even against the league's best players.
``We were down and the game was tied. And I was able to put the finishing touch on it with the dunk and kept the momentum going for us,'' James said.
Unlike the game two years ago, the East blew the big cushion this time. The West rallied from 16 points down to grab a fourth-quarter lead. But with the game tied at 125, James came up with a steal, then dribbled the length of the court before soaring for a dunk over a couple of West players that put the East back on top for good.
``LeBron is a freight train when he goes to that basket,'' West coach Byron Scott said. ``He's so big and strong, and so quick and powerful. It's hard to stop him when he gets the momentum going like that.''
Coming off last year's embarrassing loss in Las Vegas, James was ready to play from the start. He danced along with a jazz band playing during pregame introductions, then went down the line and high-fived the rest of the East players at the completion of the national anthem.
stretch.''
None bigger than the one by James, which started with him batting away a pass by Nowitzki.
``You saw that last dunk by LeBron,'' West guard Chris Paul said. ``I mean, we had two people on him, but that still wasn't enough.''
James scored 12 points in the first half, taking part in a slam dunk competition with Dwight Howard, who won the dunk contest on All-Star Saturday night.
James, Howard and Jason Kidd teamed on the highlight play of the first half, a Kidd-to-James-to-Howard lob, which Howard slammed in. Howard and James later took turns setting each other up for slams, with James throwing down a lob from Howard with his right hand to give the East a 57-50 lead. Just to show he wasn't just about dunks, he drilled a 3-pointer minutes later to push the lead to nine.
The Cavs' star became the 11th multiple All-Star MVP and hiked his scoring average in the game to 24.7 points, tops among players who played three or more games. And he made it a clean sweep of the MVP awards for Cleveland this weekend, with Daniel Gibson taking home the honors from Friday's rookie challenge.
``I played well and I helped our team win the ballgame,'' James said. ``It really means a lot to go out there and perform the way I was able to do in front of the fans of New Orleans, in front of my family and for the Eastern Conference, because we really wanted this win.''

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