Rice's star is extra hot 20-point quarter, 24-point half make Hornets guard MVP

Jordan's triple double a first

Down 23 in bTC first half, East romps, 132-120

February 10, 1997|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- For the past six weeks of the season, leading up to the All-Star break, Charlotte Hornets forward Glen Rice was the hottest player in the NBA. And last night Rice was hot when the Eastern Conference needed him, coming through with the best scoring quarter in NBA All-Star history.

Rice set an All-Star game record for points in a quarter with 20 in the third. He also set an All-Star record for points in a half with 24 in the second half, helping the East All-Stars to a 132-120 win over the West at Gund Arena.

The hot half earned Rice the All-Star game's most valuable player award. He is the third reserve to win the award since 1981.

"It feels great," Rice said. "Everyone has been very supportive of me, and it's one of those things I'm happy to receive."

On a night when the East came back from a 23-point first-half deficit for the win, Rice wasn't the only player setting records. Michael Jordan, last year's All-Star MVP, recorded the first triple-double in All-Star history -- 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Washington Bullets forward Chris Webber, making his first All-Star appearance, scored two points in 14 minutes.

"I've never been so nervous in my life like that. I felt like I was sucking on ice out there," said Webber, who hit one of four shots. "It's been a great experience. It's one of those things I'll treasure for the rest of my life."

Webber said it was a highlight to hear his name announced to the crowd of 20,592.

"That's what I came here for, to hear my name called," Webber said. "I was just thinking about so much surgery and how much I've gone through. It was just great to be here."

During an All-Star weekend that featured the top players of all time, once the game began, it appeared that the Eastern Conference wouldn't score 100 points. With just over seven minutes left in the first half, the East had not reached 30, and eventually trailed by as many as 23.

But that deficit came with Jordan on the bench. Once he returned, the game began to change. During one stretch late in )) the half, the East went on a 17-0 run. The East ended the half by outscoring the West 23-4 to pull within 60-57 at halftime.

Jordan led all scorers in the first half with 12 points. He also had nine rebounds and six assists in 17 minutes. Detroit Pistons forward Grant Hill and Orlando Magic guard Anfernee Hardaway -- who many said probably didn't deserve a spot because he played just 24 games in the first half of the season -- each had 11 points in the half.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Eddie Jones, playing in his first All-Star game, led the West in the first half with 10 points.

The first quarter, by All-Star standards, was low scoring for the East, which had 21 points. Webber made his All-Star debut with 4: 56 left in the first quarter, checking infor Dikembe Mutombo.

Webber missed his first shot, a 15-foot jumper. He scored the next time he touched the ball, on a short hook shot over Latrell Sprewell. For the half Webber, a replacement for the injured Patrick Ewing, scored two points in six minutes.

When the first quarter ended, the East trailed 34-21. And the West opened the second quarter with a 19-9 run and took its biggest lead, 53-30, after Karl Malone hit a jumper with 5: 57 left.

When Jordan returned, along with Hardaway and Hill, the tone began to change. And the turn of the events was stunning -- and pleasing -- to the sellout crowd -- as the East made a game of it with the 17-0 run. When the run ended on a Jordan jumper with 1: 00 left, the East was within 56-51.

The East had got as close as 58-57 after a three-pointer by Hardaway before the West took a 60-57 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Rice put on a shooting clinic. At one point during a 14-0 run, he hit three straight three-pointers. Rice scored 20 points in the third quarter, breaking the previous record of 19 points in an All-Star quarter set by Hal Greer in 1968.

The Hornets guard hit eight of 11 shots and four of five three-pointers in the quarter.

And the West, which had led by as many as 23 points in the second quarter, found itself trailing by as many as 18 in the third. And going into the final period, the East had control of the game with a 97-87 lead.

The East maintained that advantage the rest of the way, recovering from its slow start for a relatively easy win.

Pub Date: 2/10/97

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