Carmelo Anthony was the last All-Star introduced and received the loudest ovation from the Madison Square Garden crowd as he made his way onto the stage through a cloud of smoke.
Anthony smiled and waved, but when the smoke cleared he couldn't do much on the court.
Anthony's balky left knee limited him in Sunday night's All-Star Game, which could be his last time playing this season. Anthony didn't move as well as the other players in the game, making it clear the end of his season is very near.
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook scored 41 points in the West's 163-158 win over the East and was named the game's MVP. Former teammate James Harden added 29. LeBron James led the East with 30 points.
Earlier in the week, Anthony said it was "very likely" he would shut it down after this game and have surgery on his left knee. But Anthony changed his tune the next day and said he hadn't decided yet. The Knicks don't play again until Friday, when they host the Miami Heat.
Anthony scored 14 points on 6-for-20 shooting and had seven rebounds in 30:16. East coach Mike Budenholzer, of the Atlanta Hawks, reinserted the Knicks star in the fourth quarter of the close game that Westbrook and James were dominating.
Anthony nearly won the MVP of last year's All-Star Game in New Orleans, but that was the furthest thing from his mind Sunday night. Anthony said he wouldn't be able to play many minutes "unless a miracle happens."
He played more than expected, logging 22 minutes through three quarters.
Anthony looked forward to being the host and to all the pomp and circumstance that comes with All-Star Weekend. It has been a forgettable season for the Knicks and a distressing one for Anthony because of his health. Being in the All-Star Game wouldn't atone for everything, but it was important to Anthony to participate.
"This is it,'' he said. "This is what the NBA is all about -- All-Star Weekend. You want to get there. You want to have this experience. I've been blessed to have this my eighth time. It gets better and better each year. For me to be a big major part of it this year, I'm excited.''
This was the fifth time New York has hosted the All-Star Game and the first since 1998.
The night began with Christina Aguilera stepping out of a really Big Apple, singing the beginning of Frank Sinatra's "New York. New York.'' It was the start of a montage of songs all relating to New York and the city, and Aguilera got help from Nas for Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind.''
After the anthems, Anthony addressed the crowd and the game began like many at the Garden this season -- with easy dunks and wide-open three-pointers.
James threw down the game's first two dunks, but the West got rolling after that behind the explosive Westbrook.
He scored 12 points off the bench in the first quarter and another 15 in less than six minutes at the start of the second.
Westbrook hit three-pointers on three straight trips in the second quarter, and his 27 points set a record for the most in a half of an All-Star Game. The previous mark was 24. Westbrook did it in 11 minutes and shot 11-for-15.
The West led by 20 in the second quarter, but the East cut it to 83-82 by halftime without Anthony having an impact. He shot 2-for-9 and scored five points.
After Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj performed at halftime, the East pulled ahead 93-91 on a spectacular fast-break, back-to-the-basket alley-oop dunk by James.
The West went up 122-115 on Kevin Durant's three-pointer with 1:47 left in the third quarter. But points were coming at a dizzying pace, and the East tied it at 122 at the end of the quarter in what could have been Anthony's last half of basketball of the season.