Kyrie Irving is 3-for-3 in dazzling the league at All-Star weekend.
Irving had 31 points and 14 assists to win the MVP award and lead the East in a 163-155 victory Sunday that included a brilliant fourth-quarter comeback. The Cavs’ young star played the entire fourth quarter and had 15 points and four assists to bring the East back from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter.
It was the highest scoring All-Star Game in history, including overtime games, and both teams surpassed the previous high mark for points scored by one team — the previous record was 155 by the West in a double-overtime game in 2003.
Irving’s MVP performance comes after winning the 3-point contest last year during All-Star weekend and winning the Rising Stars MVP during his rookie season. He is the first Cavs player to win an All-Star MVP award since LeBron James in 2008.
“I was just going out there trying to compete with these great athletes,” Irving said.
He did much more than that.
The past, present and future of the NBA was on full display during Sunday’s All-Star Game. There was the sellout crowd serenading the legendary Bill Russell with “Happy Birthday” on the day he turned 80, the league’s present superstars such as James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony soaring through the sky and a young crop of the league’s future, including Irving, who has now joined that elite throne.
As Irving was handed the trophy, past All-Star winners had to encourage Irving to hold it over his head and embrace the moment.
There were six first-time All-Stars on Sunday, including the Washington Wizards’ John Wall and the New Orleans Hornets’ Anthony Davis. Then there were second-time All-Stars like Irving, Paul George and James Harden who are soon poised to take over the league.
Perhaps the most depressing, yet telling sign of the entire evening was Kobe Bryant standing amongst the All-Stars for the 16th time, but now in a beige suit. Bryant looked uncomfortable, even depressed, to be standing on the stage during the pre-game introductions wearing a suit instead of his jersey.
Bryant openly questioned his future before the game, wondering aloud how much longer he has to play after serious knee and Achilles injuries.
Bryant still hopes to play again this season, but conceded his rehab has been tedious and was asked if he has thought of his exit strategy out of the league.
“I don’t really want the rocking chair before the game. It would drive me crazy,” he said. “I’ll probably just pop up and vanish.”
Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant each had 38 points for the West, falling four points shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time scoring record for an All-Star Game.
The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony had 30 points, including a record eight 3-pointers, and James had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the East. But the night belonged to the Cavs’ Irving.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “Everyone out here is an MVP.”
By Jason Lloyd - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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