NEW ORLEANS — With yet another dominant All-Star Game performance, Kevin Durant's place in NBA history moved another step in the right direction.
The Oklahoma City Thunder star, scorching in so many ways this season, carried over his career year into the league's annual celebration. He scored an All-Star Game personal best 38 points, but the East came back from an 18-point hole to snap a three-year losing streak to the West with a 163-155 win on Sunday night in New Orleans.
It was the fourth consecutive year that Durant scored at least 30 points in the midseason gala.
This outburst bumped Durant's All-Star scoring average from 28.8 points to 30.6 points.
LeBron James, who scored 22 points in his 10th appearance Sunday, ranks a distant second with a 24.8-point average.
With 153 total points through his first five All-Star Games — the most by any player in the event's history through his first five — Durant now trails all-time scoring leader Kobe Bryant by 127 points. If he maintains his current pace, Durant could potentially surpass Bryant in another five All-Star Games.
“I never really think about it,” Durant said when asked about his place in All-Star Game history. “I just go out there and play. When I get on that court, I'm not one of those guys that can just cruise and not worry about the game. I got to go out there and play the way I play. And tonight was fun.”
Durant tied West teammate Blake Griffin for game-high scoring honors. The two came four points shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain's 52-year-old record for points in a single game.
Up until the final 64 seconds, when the East took a four-point lead on Carmelo Anthony's record-setting 3-pointer, a debate raged about which of the two players would take home the game's Most Valuable Player Award.