The Eastern Conference All-Stars, led by MVP Kyrie Irving’s 31 points and 14 assists, set an All-Star Game scoring record as they bet the West 163-155.
Kyrie Irving led the comeback charge for the East, scoring 24 points in the second half (15 in the fourth quarter), to help the East to a come-from-behind victory in New Orleans. The win snapped the Western Conference’s three-year All-Star Game winning streak.
Irving finished with a team-high 31 points, 14 assists (also game-high) and five rebounds as the East erased an 18-point deficit to snatch victory from the hands of the West in record-breaking fashion.
The East’s 163 points set a new All-Star Game record for points scored. While the teams’ combined 318 points is also a new record, eclipsing the previous record of 303 points, set during an overtime game in 1987.
West forwards Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant also came close to breaking the individual scoring record, pouring in 38 points each, only four shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 points set in 1962.
But it was Irving that once again stole the show. One year after winning the Three-Point Contest, scoring 32-points in the Rising Stars Challenge (ending Brandon Knight’s career on the way) and scoring 15 points in his first All-Star Game, Irving joins former Cavalier LeBron James as the only two players to win the award 21 years of age.
“There’s so many MVPs out there on that floor and to be named MVP among all those great stars is truly an honour,” Irving said.
“It’s a blessing. I’m glad I get to bring it back to Cleveland.”
“Kyrie is special, it’s just that simple,” James said.
“His ability to shoot the ball, get into the lane, make shots around the rim, he has the total package. I’ve always known that. I’ve always witnessed that since he was in high school. I’m extremely happy for him, extremely proud for him to receive this award.”
Fellow East backcourt starter Dwyane Wade, added: “Forget a Dunk Contest, do a layup contest and he’ll win it. He’s got so much pizazz.”
Irving’s closet rival for the MVP award was Griffin. The Clippers’ forward dunked his way to a record 19 made field goals (shooting 19-23 on the night), beating the previous record of 17 set by Chamberlain (1962), Michael Jordan (1988) and Kevin Garnett (2003), and grabbed six rebounds in the loss.
“This is a game for the fans,” said Griffin when questioned about his gravity defying exploits.
“They don’t want to see me shooting jump shots, so it’s cool to be able to get up and down and have fun with it.”
Clippers’ teammate Chris Paul, who tallied 11 points (4-9 field goals) and a West-high 13 assists in the game, added: “Blake was unreal [tonight],”
“I thought Blake had a shot at getting 50 tonight … if we win that game right there, I think Blake is MVP.”
Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony set a new All-Star Game record, connecting on eight three-pointers – beating the previous mark of six held by Mark Price and LeBron James – on his way to 30 points (10-18 from the floor and 8-13 from beyond the arc).
“One of the ball boys was telling me [about the record],” said Anthony.
“It was a great feeling. Obviously my teammates knew that, they kept finding me so all I had to do was just space the court and make the shot. They made it easy for me.”
A heavy favourite for MVP before the game, Durant didn’t disappoint in his fifth All-Star Game, providing one of the highlights of the game after throwing down an inbounds alley-oop pass from Stephen Curry.
The lanky Thunder forward’s 38 points (14-27 shooting and 6-17 from downtown) marked the fourth time he has scored at least 30 points in the All-Star Game. He also added 10 rebounds and six assists for good measure.
Two-time All-Star Game MVP LeBron James stared the game off with a bang, throwing down a vicious breakaway slam, eventually finishing with 22 points (11-22 shooting, 0-7 threes), seven assists and seven rebounds. He also threw down a spectacular windmill jam off a lob from Anthony early in the game.
Warriors’ guard Curry added a double-double for the West, notching 12 points and 11 assists despite struggling with his shot (4-14 field goals, 2-11 from deep) throughout his first All-Star Game start.
While Dwight Howard added eight points and 11 rebounds for the West, and hometown hero Anthony Davis scored 10 points in nine minutes of action.
Newly-crowned Dunker of the Night John Wall contributed 12 points, five rebounds and four assists in his first All-Star Game. While he also continued his aerial exploits, hammering home several thrilling slams.