The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 17, 2014

Irving, LeBron help East end its All-Star skid

(Continued)

The All-Stars played better than they sang.

The East finished with 61 percent shooting, needing all sorts of offense after it simply couldn't defend Durant and Griffin.

Durant made six 3-pointers and raised his career scoring average in the All-Star games to a record 30.6 points.

Outside of the ugly sleeved jerseys, it was a good look for the NBA's midseason showcase, bouncing back strongly from an uneven All-Star Saturday night.

The new format of the slam dunk contest Saturday wasn't a hit, but every night is a dunk contest when Griffin is involved.

The guy who once jumped over a car to win a slam dunk contest had eight slams in the first 11 minutes, the backboard often barely done shaking from the last one when he threw down the next.

James Harden started for the West in place of Kobe Bryant, who was elected by the fans but was knocked out by a broken left knee. Bryant said before the game his recovery is "coming slowly" but hopes to be back in another All-Star game.

With Bryant sitting out and longtime regulars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett not selected, it was a chance for the younger guys to make their mark. The rosters were loaded with players 25 and younger, including first-time starters George, Irving, Stephen Curry and Kevin Love.

The All-Star newcomers also included official Violet Palmer, who became the first female to referee a major U.S. sports league's All-Star game.

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