The National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference erased a 21-point deficit to edge the Western Conference 122-120 Sunday in the league's 55th annual All-Star game.
In a game that is usually all about offense and individual performances, the East used its defense on key plays to fend off the West, and grab its second N.B.A. All-Star win in as many years.
The West saw its 21-point lead cut to three points by the end of the third quarter, thanks to the efforts of the East's LeBron James of Cleveland, who scored 13 of his 29 points in the rally.
Defensively, James broke up a potential game-tying jump shot by San Antonio superstar Tracy McGrady with nine seconds to go before the final buzzer. McGrady led all scorers with 36 points.
Detroit's four reserve All-Stars - Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton - came off the bench together to help the East come from behind.
The East took the lead early in the fourth quarter and led by as much as 10 points with three-and-a-half minutes to go.
NBA leading scorer Kobe Byrant of Los Angeles tied the score 120-120 with 32 seconds to go, but the Laker superstar blew a chance to put the West ahead with a turnover in the closing seconds.
Ultimately, it was Miami's Dwayne Wade who grabbed a rebound off a missed jump shot by East teammate Allen Iverson of Philadelphia and hit what turned out to be the game-winning basket with 16 seconds left in the game.
Cleveland's 21-year-old James became the youngest player to win the All-Star Most Valuable Player honor.
The Eastern Conference leads the overall series 35-20 over the Western Conference.