MVP Durant steals the show at All-Star Game, Latest Basketball News - The New Paper

MVP Durant steals the show at All-Star Game

He outduels Antetokounmpo to rally Team LeBron from 109-89 down

Kevin Durant scored 31 points and won MVP honours after outduelling Giannis Antetokounmpo to lift Team LeBron to a 178-164 win in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game yesterday morning (Singapore time) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Team LeBron attempted 90 three-pointers (hitting 35) and the teams combined for 167 tries from deep. Durant helped put the game away for Team LeBron with a three-pointer with two minutes left for a 171-160 lead.

Team Giannis had led 109-89 early in the the third.

"It's cool to be out there with some of the best players to ever play the game, and to win an MVP here in front of my family and friends is pretty sweet," said Durant, who also took home the All-Star Game MVP honours in 2012.

Antetokounmpo, 24, scored a game-high 38 points on 17-of-23 shooting and drew raves from his peers, Durant included.

"He's got potential through the roof. He's still producing at an elite level and it's scary to see how far he can keep going," Durant said.

"His game is rounding into shape. He's still getting better, but he's leading top-five, top-three MVP candidates right now at 20.

" How old is he, 23? To be that young and already at the top of the class as one of the elites in the game. It's a joy to watch his progression."

Just before Durant's closing stretch, James shook off 76ers forward Joel Embiid for a corner three. On the next trip, he pounded home a one-handed slam on a lob from Kyrie Irving that extended Team LeBron's lead to 168-158.

As the teams traded long-distance daggers and mixed in the occasional lob off the glass, Durant connected on a pair of three-pointers from the right side to give Team LeBron a 161-153 lead at the five-minute mark in the fourth as shots started to fall short and handles were less certain.

Stephen Curry brought the Spectrum Center to its feet at the final buzzer, catching the ball off a hard bounce from himself and throwing in a reverse jam.

He did the same with a four-point play early in the fourth - knocking down a three-pointer from the right wing as Warriors teammate Klay Thompson of Team LeBron pushed him to the floor.

"Any possession I was going to touch the ball with him guarding me, I was going to shoot," Curry said of facing Thompson.

"I definitely sold the call. If I was going to hit any of the 23 shots I took, that was going to be it."

Played above the rim in spurts, the game threatened to become a full-fledged three-point contest. The first half consisted of 81 three-point attempts - 29 successful - between the teams.

Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 20 in the first half. He was on a dunk-a-minute pace to start the game.

In the opening seven minutes, he had 16 points to fuel Team Giannis to a 36-22 edge, while assisting on three-pointers by Bucks teammate Khris Middleton on three of four possessions.

"Previously, my first and second All-Star (game), I was kind of nervous,"Antetokounmpo said.

"This one I was a little bit more relaxed. I had my name on that MVP until the third quarter, and they got hot and took it away from me."

Curry, the de facto player host because of his local roots, got on the board with 5:32 left in the first half and was two of seven at half-time.

He ended six of 23 from the field. - REUTERS