NEW ORLEANS — From the first play to the final minute, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving made it clear how the East felt about this All-Star game.
“We took this one personal a bit,” Irving said.
Irving had 31 points and 14 assists and was voted the MVP, Carmelo Anthony made a record eight 3-pointers and scored 30 points, and the East stopped a three-game losing streak with a 163-155 victory over the West on Sunday night in the highest-scoring All-Star game ever.
Fed up with losing the midseason game and tired of the East being picked on for its mediocrity this season, James had a steal and dunk on the first possession, long before defense usually shows up in the All-Star game.
“We wanted this win,” 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.”
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 to pull out a game it trailed by 18.
“They started making shots and we didn’t get stops and we went a little bit cold,” said Griffin, who shot 19 of 23, setting a record for field goals made.
Irving scored 15 points in the fourth quarter. James had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
The 318 points broke the record of 303 set in 1987.
Durant finished with 10 rebounds and six assists, but the West was shut out after his 3-pointer gave it a 155-153 lead with 1:59 left. Indiana’s Paul George made three free throws, Anthony nailed his final 3-pointer, and James scored to make it 161-155. George closed it out with two more free throws and finished with 18 points.
“Both teams played extremely well, we just lost,” Durant said.
The game that usually doesn’t get tight until the final minutes was close throughout the fourth quarter, neither team leading by more than four until the final minute.