PHOENIX — Down to his final letter, Kevin Durant got hot to rally and win the inaugural NBA All-Star Game H-O-R-S-E competition Saturday afternoon.
Durant scored a record 46 points in the rookie-sophomore game Friday night to earn MVP honors and followed with an improbable win on an outdoor court.
When Durant had four letters early in the hour-long competition, Memphis’ O.J. Mayo didn’t have a letter and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson had only one letter.
Durant twice had to make shots — a double-pump layup and a one-legged, one-handed 3-pointer — to stave off elimination.
"I knew I couldn’t hit those (fancy) layups Joe was hitting,” Durant said. "I was just praying they would keep missing.”
When Johnson was eliminated, Mayo had only two letters. Durant caught fire with long-range shooting.
"Kevin got going and made some basic shots,” Mayo said. "I’ve got to knock those down.”
Officials used G-E-I-C-O for letters for the event’s title sponsor. For winning, Durant was awarded a toy, plastic horse.
"Are you kidding me?” said TNT analyst Kenny Smith. "Are we that cheap?”
Durant said: "I’m a slow roaster. I needed to get warmed up.”