Cleveland’s Irving the MVP as East tops West 163-155 in All-Star Game
Players break record for most points scored in the All-Star Game
NEW ORLEANS — The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a rotten season, and Kyrie Irving has been in the middle of it.
What happened Sunday night should ease Irving’s pain.
Irving won MVP honors as he led the Eastern Conference to a 163-155 victory over the Western Conference in the highest-scoring game in the exhibition’s history.
The Eastern Conference finally stopped Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin — then stopped its losing streak at the NBA All-Star Game.
Irving had 31 points, 14 assists and five rebounds for the top honors and Carmelo Anthony made a record eight three-pointers and scored 30 points.
“It’s a great honor,” Irving said. “We had a few MVPs. Everyone out here today is an MVP.”
Durant and Griffin each finished with 38 points, four shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record. But the East scored the final 10 points to win after trailing by 18.
“We wanted this win,” LeBron James said. “They beat us the last three years and they had a lot of bragging rights, so to be able to come through being down 18 was huge.”
Irving scored 15 points in the fourth quarter as the East ended a three-game losing streak. James had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“We took this one personal a bit,” Irving said.
“The superstars of our league were just telling us to compete on every play,” he added. “Trying to play as much defense as possible. You know, sticking to our game plan. We had a game plan going in and we executed.”
The 318 points broke the record of 303 set in 1987.
Griffin shot 19 of 23, while Durant finished with 10 rebounds and six assists.
“They started making shots and we didn’t get stops and we went a little bit cold,” said Griffin, who set a record for field goals made.
Chris Paul had 11 points and 13 assists, and first-time All-Star Stephen Curry had 12 points and 11 assists for the West. But the best point guard on the floor was Irving, who shot 14 of 17 and helped the East ring up 87 points in the second half after it surrendered a record 89 in the first.
In a colorful tribute to New Orleans, players wore sneakers and socks that ranged from green and blue to orange and purple, making the game look like a Mardi Gras parade.
Magic Johnson led a band, too, encouraging the All-Stars to join him in singing “Happy Birthday” after the first quarter to Hall of Famer and Mercer Island resident Bill Russell, the NBA’s greatest champion who was celebrating his 80th.
Despite the spectacle, there were plenty of empty seats in the upper deck, especially behind the goals and in the corners. In all, the upper deck might have been just 70 to 75 percent full.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.