The 2013-14 NBA All-Stars put on quite a show in New Orleans on Sunday night.
Aside from the typical high-flying slam dunks, fancy between-the-leg dribbles and crossover moves, both teams played the full 48 minutes as if it were Game Seven of the NBA Finals. In the end, it was the East All-Stars that emerged victorious.
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving all put on show stopping performances, but it was Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard, that took home the MVP award after his 31 points and 14 assists helped the East outlast the West, 163-155, in the league’s annual mid-season classic at the New Orleans Arena.
The 318 total points scored broke the record of 303, set in the 1987 edition. West stars Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each finished with 38 points, four shy of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star game record, for the West. But the East scored the final 10 points as part of a huge fourth quarter rally to win a contest they trailed by double digits for most of the second half.
“We took this one personal a bit,” Irving said afterwards.
Personal it was, considering the West had dominated the last three All-Star contests. But James and Irving were determined not to let the West have their way again.
As the East rallied during that final period, teammates were seen jumping up and down off the bench, while the West squad looked on with stunned faces, realizing the East had taken control.
Early on, it was a highlight festive first half with Clippers guard Chris Paul and Griffin hooking up for some of their signature alley-oop dunks. But James and the East stars responded with drives to the basket and some nifty outside shooting from Anthony.
Playing in his seventh All-Star game, the Knicks’ small forward set a record with eight 3-pointers while scoring 30 points.
“It was a great feeling,” Anthony said afterwards. “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.”
It was dejected feeling on the other side of the bench for the West All-Stars, who simply couldn’t get the stops they needed as the East continued to score with efficiency
late in the contest.
“They started making shots and we went a little bit cold,” Griffin said afterward.
Irving scored 15 points in the fourth quarter while James had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. In an ironic twist, Irving became the first Cavaliers player to win MVP honors since LeBron did so while with Cleveland in 2008.
The game preceded a festive introduction of the rosters from both teams with music superstars Nelly, Pharell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy performing some of their memorable and current chart-topping hits much to the delight of the crowd in NOLA and watching at home on TNT.