LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant moved past Michael Jordan to become the leading NBA all-star game scorer but the milestone proved costly as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar suffered a broken nose Sunday. The 33-year-old American Bryant fractured his nose in the third quarter after being hit in the face by Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade. Wade was assessed a foul for reaching in and slapping Bryant on the face and shoulder with just under nine minutes to go in the quarter. Bryant finished with 27 points and had 271 career all-star game points by the end of the 61st NBA All-Star Game which was won by the Western Conference 152-149. A bloodied Bryant stepped up to the free-throw line and sank both shots. He remained in the game, playing eight minutes in the fourth quarter and helping the West hold off a late charge by Team East. “An initial CT scan revealed a nasal fracture and he will be re-evaluated on Tuesday,” Lakers spokesman John Black said Monday. The Lakers said they would not know until doctors examined the nose Tuesday whether the four-time all-star game MVP Bryant would be able to play in the Lakers next game on Wednesday against Minnesota. The Lakers host Miami on Sunday at Staples Center arena. Wade made no attempt to apologize for slapping Bryant, painting himself as the victim of two earlier fouls from Bryant. “I obviously didn’t try to draw no blood, but I took a foul,” Wade said. “Kobe fouled me two times in a row, so he’s still got one up on me.”
About four minutes after the Wade elbow, Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan’s previous record of 262 points when he took a pass from Kevin Durant for a dunk in the third quarter. The injury comes a week after Bryant blasted the Lakers’ management in an expletive-laden outburst as he described his frustration with the way the NBA club was handling the Pau Gasol trade rumors. Speaking after the Lakers loss to Phoenix February 19, Bryant said he was upset with the constant rumors circulating around Spain’s Gasol and the team since the start of the season. The NBA trading deadline is March 15.
Bryant was making his 14th straight all-star appearance which tied him with Jerry West, Karl Malone, and former Laker teammate Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive all-star berths in league history. In last year’s all-star contest in Los Angeles, hometown hero Bryant scored 37 points in the West’s 148-143 win over the East at Staples Center.