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Richardson, Arenas are stars in preliminary



Published: Tue, February 11, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The sophomores beat the rookies in a high-scoring game to begin NBA All-Star Saturday.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jason Richardson bounced the ball off Carlos Boozer's forehead, then buried a 3-pointer before the clock ran out.

A fitting end to the start of All-Star Saturday.

Richardson scored 31 points, and Golden State teammate Gilbert Arenas added 30 as the sophomores dominated the second half to beat the rookies 132-112 in a game -- using that term loosely -- that barely passed for basketball.

There were plenty of schoolyard moves, a plethora of sloppy passes and hardly any defense at all. Arenas was chosen as MVP, scoring 23 points in the second half.

But it was Richardson who provided most of the game's signature moments.

Impressive

In the first half, he got a head start on defending his dunk championship later in the evening with a couple of jaw-dropping moves.

He made a 360-degree spin on his way to a one-handed slam and followed that with a reverse two-hander that left the backboard shaking and crowd oohing and aahing.

Richardson finished with another dazzler from the outside. With the clock winding down and the game in hand, he dribbled leisurely outside the 3-point arc before a quick flip off Boozer's head. As if playing with a yo-yo, the ball bounced straight back to Richardson, who swished the shot for the game's final points.

Afterward, the two players embraced, as if there were no hard feelings, but Boozer made it clear that he didn't appreciate Richardson's closing act.

The rookies led 69-57 at halftime and quickly pushed the margin to 15 when Gordon Giricek opened the second half with a 3-pointer.

Reeled off run

But the sophomores reeled off a 27-12 run to tie the game at 84 with 12:09 remaining. Arenas put the sophomores ahead to stay when he sank a 3-pointer with a 10:58 to go for a 92-90 lead.

Arenas hit 5-of-8 from outside the arc in the second half to steal the MVP award away from Richardson, who took the award last year as a rookie.

The rookies were blown out over the final five minutes. The sophomores closed with a 28-12 spurt and finished with their biggest lead of the game.

Neither side, however, appeared to take the outcome too seriously. In the first half alone, there were 26 dunks and 18 layups.

With everyone trying to one-up the last move, the teams combined for 55 turnovers in the 40-minute game.




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