Kevin Durant became the first player to score at least 30 in four straight games in All-Star history, but it wasn’t enough as the East overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the West, 163-155.
Durant, who entered the game with the highest scoring average in All-Star history at 28.8, increased it to 30.6 with a 38-point performance that included 10 rebounds an six assists. He shot 14-27 from the field (most attempts by any player tonight), but went just 6-17 from 3. KD’s 17 attempts breaks the previous record for most attempts of 11 by Ray Allen (2005) and Durant himself (2011).
Durant shared high-point honors with Blake Griffin, who scored his 38 on 19-23 shooting, with all 19 makes being either dunks or layups.
A couple of times, it looked like Durant was about to completely erupt, Reaper-style. He hit a 35-foot-ish 3 halfway through the fourth, and then a ridic step-back 3 right in LeBron’s mouth late to put the West back up momentarily.
But he finished the game missing his last three shots, starting with a driving lefty layup with 1:31 left that would’ve put the West back up one. Durant then missed a deep 3 with 52 seconds left, then another with 19 seconds left.
While Durant’s fizzled finish was a bit of a bummer as Kyrie Irving and the East slipped in to steal what could’ve been KD’s second All-Star MVP award, it was kind of fun to see him as the undisputed Western Conference alpha. With the game close and no Kobe Bryant on the floor, it was Durant who became the complete focal point and closer for the West. A changing-of-the-guard moment, if you will.
It appeared we might be treated to a one-on-one duel between LeBron and Durant down the stretch as the two guarded each other late, but after KD shut down two LeBron drives, that kind of fizzled out as well. Still a fun game, and always nothing but a joy to watch Durant hoist jumpers, even when they don’t fall. Because they’re all so, so pretty.
In the end, it just didn’t happen for KD in crunchtime tonight in this elevated exhibition game. So he’ll just have to (hopefully) settle for that other MVP. Alas.
A couple other notes:
- Durant’s now scored 153 points in his five All-Star Games. Kobe holds that all-time record with 280. At this current pace, Durant will break that by age 30. That’s insane.
- Durant’s All-Star scoring numbers: 15 on 7-14, 34 on 11-23, 36 on 14-23, 38 on 14-27.
- For a little bit there, Durant was flirting with a triple-double, but he finished with 10 rebounds and six assists to go with his 38.
- Saw a few folks complain that KD was ball-hogging. Um, it’s the All-Star Game.
- Dirk played eight minutes and scored zero points. Had it not been for a rebound and two shot attempts, he would’ve put up a solid eight trillion.
- Neither team registered a single block tonight. They needed you, Serge Ibaka.
- No real eye-popping highlight from KD tonight, but that over-the-backboard oop was pretty fun.
- Somehow Stephen Curry went 2-11 from 3 in an All-Star format. That seems unpossible.
- KD played a game-high 35 minutes. Scotty either gunning for his guy, or just doesn’t know any other way.
- I wonder if at any point in the fourth when the game got tight, Brooks had a little panic attack when he looked up and down his bench and didn’t see Derek Fisher to sub in.