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East stuff West in record All-Star clash

WEST-ALL-STARNEW ORLEANS, February 17- Kyrie Irving scored 31 points and Carmelo Anthony added 30 to power the East over the West 163-155 Sunday in the highest-scoring NBA All-Star Game in history.

Cleveland’s 21-year-old playmaker Irving was named the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player after scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter to spark a victory comeback for the East.

“I was just going out there to try and compete with these great athletes. It’s a real honor to be selected the MVP,” Irving said. “Everyone here is an MVP.”

The East team, trailing by 18 points in the third quarter, scored the final 10 points to snap a three-game win streak by the West stars and stretched its lead in the all-time rivalry to 37-26.

NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers each scored 38 points to lead the West in a losing cause.

Irving went 14-of-17 from the field and added 14 assists in a game that became the most prolific scoring exhibition in all-star history, producing numerous record.

The East’s winning total was the highest of any team in all-star history as were the 318 combined points and the combined 30 3-pointers from both clubs.

Griffin made an All-Star Game record 19 baskets, most of them slam dunks, and New York’s Anthony sank a record eight 3-pointers, going 8-of-13 from beyond the arc.

The West stretched the lead as wide as 123-105 but the East answered with an 18-3 run to close the third quarter and pull within 126-123 entering the fourth quarter.

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Durant hit a 3-pointer to give the West a 155-153 lead but his team would not score again.

Paul George answered with three free throws to give the East the lead for good. Anthony followed a Durant miss with a 3-pointer.

LeBron James followed another Durant miss with a fast break layup off a behind-the-back pass from Irving for a 161-155 edge and George added two free throws to seal the East triumph.

James scored 22 points and George contributed 18 for the East.

Kevin Love scored 13 points for the West, which also had 12 points and 11 assists from Steph Curry and 11 points and 13 assists from Chris Paul.

Spectacular slam dunks, high passes that were jammed in the hoop by high-leaping teammates, fast break drives and no-look passes were featured in the contest, with moves that would typically be rare in regular-season matchups drawing roars from the crowd in the more relaxed all-star atmosphere on display in the “Big Easy.”

The West set an All-Star Game one-half scoring record by a single point on the way to an 89-76 half-time lead, with the teams combining to break the mark for the most total points in a half at 165, eight more than the old mark.

Durant had 22 points in the first half while West teammate Blake Griffin had 18 in the first quarter alone.

“Guys were just looking for me,” Griffin said. “It’s an all-star game. Not a whole lot of defense being played so I tried to take advantage of it.

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“This game is for the fans, to put on a show and have fun with it. We’re pretty relaxed.”

Houston guard James Harden replaced injured star Kobe Bryant in the West starting lineup, with the Los Angeles Lakers guard watching from the stands.

“It feels strange not being out there,” Bryant said. “I feel a lot like a fan more than anything else, watching these young fellows.”

With retired Chinese star Yao Ming also among the NBA legends watching, the East opened the game with an 11-2 run.

But Griffin slammed down eight dunks on 9-of-11 shooting and San Antonio guard Tony Parker sank a layup that gave the West a 44-42 lead after one quarter.

Both All-Star squads visited iconic 1960s Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, who turned 80 four days earlier, between the first and second quarters.

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