Kobe Bryant applied some defense against LeBron James. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

It was a long way to go, but if you could get past the nearly 300 points and the chucklefest on TNT, there were a couple of moments between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James that added a little extra spice to the NBA All-Star Game.

It was KB on LJ — MJ, the guy who hijacked ASG weekend simply by turning 50, picked KB based on rings last week — down the stretch as a shocking display of defense erupted in the West’s 143-138 victory in Houston. Despite starting in his 15th ASG, Bryant reminded everyone before the game, “When have I not competed?” and, as it grew late, he reminded James of just that by blocking two shots.

Which was kind of fun.

Bryant finished with nine points, eight assists and four rebounds with the West’s Chris “Not Cliff” Paul the MVP. Over the fourth quarter, James was 0-for-4, in large part because of Bryant, and he wasn’t terribly bothered by that, not in an ASG. “He does it all the time. I am absolutely not surprised,” James, who finished with 19 points in 30 minutes, said. “It was all in good spirit. It was just two guys who love to compete, love to go at it. It was a lot of fun.”

Bryant did seem to be having a lot of fun for a guy whose team is four games under .500 where it counts. On Saturday, he couldn’t resist tweaking the NBA over that Chris Paul trade that David Stern nixed when his daughter and Paul’s son squared off.

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