|Sunday, February 19, 2017|
|National Basketball Assoc.|
No D, lots of Pelicans' Davis in West All-Stars' 192-182 win
Monday, February 20 at 1:18 AM (EST)
NEW ORLEANS -- It was less a basketball game than 48 minutes of Harlem Globetrotters layup drills, but New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis was not apologizing for his record 52 points Sunday night in lifting the West to a 192-182 playground-style rout of the East in the 66th NBA All-Star Game.
While defense was nothing but a bad rumor -- at one point in the second half, Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry dropped face down 10 feet in front of his own basket rather than try to stop a four-on-one East fastbreak -- the All-Star Game was a case of truth in advertising.
Fans pay to watch acrobatics and offensive orgies.
"It was amazing," Davis said of his 52-point performance, which broke Wilt Chamberlain's record of 42 points in the 1962 All-Star Game and earned him the MVP trophy.
"That's what I wanted to do. I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it. They wanted me to score 50. I thank all of them. This definitely means a lot to me."
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had 41 points for the West All-Stars, and his former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant, now with Golden State, added 21.
Durant also had 10 rebounds and 10 assists to become the fourth player ever to record an All-Star triple-double, following Michael Jordan (1997), LeBron James (2011) and Dwyane Wade (2012).
Westbrook's and Durant's chilly personal relationship since Durant left the Thunder in the offseason to sign a free agent contract with the Warriors was the subject of much speculation before the game, their first as teammates in nine months.
As it turned out, Warriors coach Steve Kerr played the pair together for only 81 seconds in the entire game -- a quick stretch midway through the first quarter. The world did not stop spinning on its axis, but it did skip a beat when the West embarked on an otherwise mundane offensive possession.
Westbrook and Durant ran across midcourt on either side of the key. Westbrook flicked a pass to Durant on the left side, and Durant threw it right back to Westbrook on a give-and-go that resulted in an easy layup and a 31-28 West lead.
At the next timeout, the West bench greeted Durant and Westbrook with high-fives, and Curry poured water on Durant's head. Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan came over and bear-hugged Westbrook as team managers knelt on the floor and wiped up the water.
"I saw some ice flying," Kerr said of the spontaneous timeout celebration. "It took a couple of minutes to wipe up the ice and water. There were three or four guys leading the charge with the laughter -- DeAndre and DeMarcus (Cousins) and Draymond (Green). It was a fun moment.
"This stuff has all been blown out. Both are great guys. It's basketball, and it's a basketball game. Guys are going to make decisions, players get traded and get cut. It's all part of the business."
Asked about his decision to "make peace" with Durant, Westbrook said, "Oh, was that a question? ... Did you see it? I had a great time."
Asked about the pass to Westbrook, Durant said, "Yeah, it was a good play. Good catch. Good finish."
The 374 combined points broke the record of 369 set during the West's 196-173 win a year ago.
The East was led by Milwaukee Bucks center Giannis Antetokounmpo, a first-year All-Star who scored 30 points, and by LeBron James, who made his 13th All-Star start and finished with 23 points. James' Cleveland teammate, Kyrie Irving, added 22 points and 14 assists.
"I was just having fun, just trying to live in the moment," Antetokounmpo said. "I told the coach (Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics) I was going to play hard no matter what."
Davis made 26 of 39 shots from the field, eclipsing Blake Griffin's 2014 record of 19 made field goals in an All-Star Game.
The East led 53-48 after 12 minutes -- the 101 combined points was an All-Star Game record for a quarter -- and the West took a 97-92 halftime lead.
The 189 first-half points broke the All-Star record of 187 points set in the first half last year (West 104, East 83).
NOTES: The over-under for the game in Las Vegas was 348.5 points, which was easily eclipsed. Last year's 369 total points obliterated the previous highest total of 321. ... For the first time in All-Star history, five players drafted in the second round were named 2017 All-Stars -- Atlanta's Paul Millsap and Boston's Isaiah Thomas for the East, and Golden State's Draymond Green, the Los Angeles Clippers' DeAndre Jordan and Memphis' Marc Gasol for the West. ... LeBron James was the fifth player in NBA history to start in at least 13 All-Star games. He joined Kobe Bryant (15 starts) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Cousy and Michael Jordan with 13 each. ... Giannis Antetokounmpo was the first Milwaukee Buck to start an All-Star Game since Sidney Moncrief in 1986. ... Oklahoma City Thunder G Russell Westbrook won back-to-back All-Star MVPs in 2015 and 2016 -- the only player in NBA history to accomplish that feat.