East gets by Durant, Griffin to win All-Star game

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2014 at 11:48 pm •  Published: February 16, 2014
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And there was plenty of music, the rosters and starting lineups introduced around a concert by Pharrell Williams, who was joined by his own All-Stars in Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Snoop Dogg.

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 Bill Russell, the NBA's greatest champion who was celebrating his 80th.

The All-Stars played better than they sang.

The East finished with 61 percent shooting, needing all sorts of offense after it simply couldn't defend Durant and Griffin.

Durant made six 3-pointers and raised his career scoring average in the All-Star games to a record 30.6 points.

Outside of the ugly sleeved jerseys, it was a good look for the NBA's midseason showcase, bouncing back strongly from an uneven All-Star Saturday night.

The new format of the slam dunk contest Saturday wasn't a hit, but every night is a dunk contest when Griffin is involved.

The guy who once jumped over a car to win a slam dunk contest had eight slams in the first 11 minutes, the backboard often barely done shaking from the last one when he threw down the next.

Durant made a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to make it 89-76 at the break, one point better than he and the West had two years ago in Orlando. He and Griffin each had 30 points by the end of the third quarter, but the East trimmed what was a West 18-point lead to 126-123 after three.

James Harden started for the West in place of Kobe Bryant, who was elected by the fans but was knocked out by a broken left knee. Bryant said before the game his recovery is "coming slowly" but hopes to be back in another All-Star game.

With Bryant sitting out and longtime regulars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett not selected, it was a chance for the younger guys to make their mark. The rosters were loaded with players 25 and younger, including first-time starters George, Irving, Stephen Curry and Kevin Love.

The All-Star newcomers also included official Violet Palmer, who became the first female to referee a major U.S. sports league's All-Star game.

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