MINNEAPOLIS -- True, last night's 44th NBA All-Star Game marked a changing of the guard with 11 players making their initial appearance. But in the end, it was the stars from the old school who had the biggest impact.
With no Michael Jordan to turn to, the Eastern Conference got big-time performances from eight-time All-Star Patrick Ewing of New York and four-time All-Star Scottie Pippen of Chicago. Ewing scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and Pippen had a game-high 29 as the East defeated the West, 127-118, before a sellout crowd of 17,096 at the Target Center. The game broke a two-game losing streak by the East.
Pippen also grabbed 11 rebounds, and earned the game's Most Valuable Player award.
"I've been shooting the ball well, and I just continued to let the shot flow," said Pippen, who hit nine of 15 shots from the field. "[Being MVP] wasn't anything I thought about before the game. I think the fans came here to be entertained, and that's all I tried to do."
Among the newer guys, perhaps the most frustrated was Orlando's Shaquille O'Neal, considered by many to be the league's biggest star.
O'Neal did provide the highlight of the night, catching a lob with his left hand and slamming it in the face of Houston center Hakeem Olajuwon. But the league's leading scorer, who missed his first 10 shots from the field, finished with only eight points.
"It was kind of frustrating," O'Neal said. "But my team won. And I'm happy."
The more experienced Western Conference trailed for most of the game and fell behind, 103-90, after Ewing converted a three-point play to open the fourth quarter.
But Los Angeles Clippers forward Danny Manning, making his second All-Star appearance, scored four points during an 8-0 run by the West capped by a layup.
In all the West started the final period with a 17-7 run and got as close as 108-107 after David Robinson hit one of two free throws with 7:17 left.
Ewing and Knicks teammate John Starks combined to score all the East points during a 9-3 run that increased the lead to 117-110.
The West was able to pull to within two after a three-pointer by Utah Jazz guard John Stockton with just under three minutes left. But the East ended the game with a 10-3 run.
Pippen, sporting a pair of red shoes, had the hot hand early, at one point scoring nine straight points as the East took an 11-10 lead.
Surprisingly there was some defense played in the early going, a no-no in All-Star play. Aside from Seattle forward Shawn Kemp's primal screams on rebounds, and the mascot slam-dunk contest during a timeout, there was little to cheer in the first quarter, which ended with the East leading 33-28.
In the second quarter the East increased its lead to 46-36 after a fast-break dunk by Dominique Wilkins with 8:40 left. A team with seven first-year players, the East led by as many as 13 points and had a 72-64 halftime lead.
Pippen's 16 points in the half led the East, but the big story was the lack of productivity of O'Neal, who in 15 minutes scored three points and missed all eight of his shots.
It appeared that the West players stepped up their defense when O'Neal got the ball, as the 7-foot, 300-pound center was victimized on four of the West's eight first-half blocks.
"When you say you're the greatest, there's going to be more intensity when you play," said San Antonio center David Robinson, who had two of the blocks. "When you say something, you have to be able to prove what you say. When you ask me if guys are going to be more into it, yes. . . . We have great athletes out there."
O'Neal, who did have seven first-half rebounds, was a big reason why the East shot 41.9 percent from the field before the intermission. In addition to Pippen's 16 points, Wilkins had 10 and Mark Price scored nine.
Olajuwon's 16 points and Kemp's nine rebounds were highs for the West, which trailed at the half despite shooting 47.5 percent.
O'Neal finally got his first field goal midway through the third quarter, on a banker from three feet that increased the East lead to 85-78.
With less than three minutes left in the third quarter, the West was able to cut the lead to 92-88 after Mitch Richmond, selected to play in his second All-Star Game (he missed last year's game with an injury), scored on a high arcing jumper.
But Price scored five points in the last two minutes as the East ended the quarter with a 9-2 run to take a 101-90 lead into the final period.
Although the Washington Bullets didn't have a representative in the game, 7-foot-7 center Gheorghe Muresan attended yesterday's game.
He spent most of his morning signing autographs at the Metrodome, which hosted the Jam Session festivities.
Muresan spent the evening on press row with a headset, providing commentary for Romanian television.
1994 -- Scottie Pippen, Chicago
1993 -- Karl Malone and John Stockton, Utah
1991 -- Charles Barkley, Phi.
1990 -- Magic Johnson, Lakers
1989 -- Karl Malone, Utah
1988 -- Michael Jordan, Chicago
1987 -- Tom Chambers, Seattle
1986 -- Isiah Thomas, Detroit
1985 -- Ralph Sampson, Houston
1984 -- Isiah Thomas, Detroit
1983 -- Julius Erving, Phi.
1982 -- Larry Bird, Boston
1981 -- Tiny Archibald, Boston
1980 -- George Gervin, S. Ant.
1979 -- David Thompson, Denver
1978 -- Randy Smith, Buffalo
1977 -- Julius Erving, Phi.
1976 -- Dave Bing, Detroit
1975 -- Walt Frazier, New York
1974 -- Bob Lanier, Detroit
1973 -- Dave Cowens, Boston
1972 -- Jerry West, Los Angeles
1971 -- Lenny Wilkens, Seattle
1970 -- Willis Reed, New York