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Game Day: All-Star 2014

Eastern Conference rallies for 163-155 win over West

NEW ORLEANS - Dwight Howard totaled eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds and James Harden tallied eight points and five assists, but their efforts weren’t quite enough to lift the Western Conference to victory as the East rallied for a 163-155 win in the NBA’s All-Star game Sunday night in New Orleans.

As the final score would indicate, defense played little to no part of the contest’s equation as the West actually needed fewer than 27 minutes to reach the 100-point plateau in what turned out to be the highest scoring game in the event’s history.

Kyrie Irving claimed MVP honors, as the East rallied all the way back from an 18-point deficit. Cleveland’s point guard exploded for 31 points while hitting 14-of-17 shots from the field while adding a game-high 14 assists. His exploits helped his club overcome similarly monstrous stat lines from the West's Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, who each delivered 38 points - just four points shy of the all-time All-Star single-game scoring record held by Wilt Chamberlain.

"I’m upset that we lost but it was a fun game to watch," Howard said. "Blake did a great job, got off to a hot start and Carmelo hit a lot of 3s – I thought he was going to win MVP. But Kyrie at the end just started making a lot of shots and that was a wrap.

"It’s a blessing to play in the All-Star game. This is my eighth one so I’m very blessed to say I played in eight All-Star games and I’m very blessed to be part of a select few guys. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to be one of the best. That’s how I look at it."

ROCKETS POST-GAME REACTION

JAMES HARDEN

(On the game)

It was wonderful just to get a chance for the fans to watch us play all on the same court. Obviously we wanted to come away with the win but it’s a great experience.

(On the entire All-Star experience)

I got a chance to do some NBA Cares and kind of connect with the kids, and had a chance to hang out with the players and just have fun. It was a great weekend.

(On being on the same All-Star team as Dwight)

We didn't actually get a chance to go on the court with each other. But it’s always a dream to be here.

(What will be the one thing you remember from this experience?)

There’s a few things. Being in the community with the kids, giving back, that’s always (great) and then just being in the game. Being in the All-Star game is a blessing.

(On the five-game west coast road trip that now awaits)

There’s going to be some tough games. We’re on a roll right now but it’s going to be some tough games when we get back and hopefully we can string (some wins) together.

DWIGHT HOWARD

(on the game)

It was cool. I’m upset that we lost but it was a fun game to watch, entertaining. Blake did a great job, got off to a hot start and Carmelo hit a lot of 3s – I thought he was going to win MVP. But Kyrie at the end just started making a lot of shots and that was a wrap.

(did you think you changed things up defensively in the second half?)

I don’t know what happened. They just started making shots and our guys didn’t. Kevin (Durant) went cold, James went cold and it was a wrap after that.

(Your overall reaction to the game)

It was cool. I was blessed to be a part of the All-Star weekend. It was a fun game. The East finally beat us so I’m a little upset about that. I think we won the last three. It was entertaining. Blake put on a good show with his dunks. LeBron (did, as well).

(Would you have liked to have played more, especially with game on the line in the fourth quarter?)

No doubt. But centers aren’t on the (All-Star voting) ballot (laughs). We work extremely hard to put ourselves in the position to play this game, and there’s a lot of kids that are big men that we inspire so I think it’s unfair not to have us on the ballot.

(What made Kyrie so special tonight?)

Oh man, we were talking (about him). He was doing some (amazing) layups and we were like, ‘Ah, he could have just done some regular layups,’ but he had to put some extra English on the shot and spin around a couple more times. He’s nice. To be so young, he’s very talented.

(Is it tough to be in such a high-scoring game when you’re a defensive player who takes pride in defense?)

All-Star games are more guards’ games. Guards bring it up, shoot shots and make most of the plays. It’s not one of those games where you come down, drop it in the post and let bigs go to work. You just have to go out and try to find ways (to impact the game).

(On Anthony Davis)

I thought he did good for his first All-Star game. His first shot was a jump shot and he hit that and then he and Chris Paul made a little connection and got some lobs and ran the floor well. I thought he had a pretty good game.

(on his second All-Star experience in New Orleans)

Man, the city is great. We’re happy to come back here to New Orleans. It’s crazy this weekend; there were people everywhere. I was excited to be back.

(On sharing this experience with Harden)

Just us being together is always fun. We enjoy representing our city. We’ re having a great year so far and we just want to make sure we keep it going.

(On his overall experience)

It’s a blessing to play in the All-Star game. This is my eighth one so I’m very blessed to say I played in eight All-Star games and I’m very blessed to be part of a select few guys. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to be one of the best. That’s how I look at it. Playing in the All-Star game is great and being a part of All-Star weekend, seeing your picture on hotel buildings and stuff like that is a dream come true.

You remember the little things like being in the locker room and taking pictures and the patches that some of the guys have while some of the guys who are just getting started don’t have any patches yet – all that stuff is fun. We really enjoy that.

(on his “snug” All-Star jersey)

The problem is my shoulders never fit in any shirts. My teammates were getting on me tonight, even the other team. LeBron said if I want to get my jersey off he’d have to erase it. So yeah, it was pretty tight but I like the tight jerseys; you get to show your muscles, it’s pretty good.