Kobe Bryant entered Sunday’s NBA All-Star game needing only 20 points to break Michael Jordan’s all-time All-Star scoring record.
But before he got the chance, the Los Angeles Lakers guard broke something else — his nose.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade fouled Bryant hard to prevent a layup opportunity, hitting him across the face and drawing blood from Bryant’s nose. Bryant suffered a nasal fracture, according to the Lakers, and missed the post-game media availability session. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that Bryant also sustained a “mild concussion.”
But Bryant remained in the game, wiping blood from his nose between a pair of free throws that tied Jordan’s mark. Then, with 4 minutes, 57 seconds left in the third quarter, he broke the record with a dunk, giving him 262 points in 13 All-Star games.
Bryant finished with 27 points, and the West needed every one of them to hold off a furious East rally and hang on for a 152-149 win.
“I obviously didn’t try to draw no blood, but I took a foul,” Wade said after the game. “Kobe fouled me two times in a row, so he’s still got one up on me.”
The individual performance wasn’t quite enough to earn Bryant an unprecedented fifth All-Star game MVP. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant poured in 36 points to lead the West and grab the MVP award. Blake Griffin added 22 points for the West while LeBron James led the East with 36.
The Lakers can ill afford to be without the league’s leading scorer for long, as they remain 1 1/2 games behind the Clippers in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles hosts the Timberwolves on Wednesday and the Kings on Friday before welcoming James, Wade and the heat to Staples Center for a nationally televised game on Sunday.