Love Scores 13 As West Falls 163-155

Kevin Love ran past Kyrie Irving on the way back to play defense during the middle portion of Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game and gave him a little forearm nudge—a playful gesture as Irving slowly moved the ball up court on that particular possession. It was a brief, meaningless moment in the game that featured the duo that starred alongside one another in Part II of Pepsi MAX’s Uncle Drew series last season.

And the way Sunday’s 163-155 East victory turned out against the West, there were shades of that Uncle Drew street ball scene on display at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The lobs and lethal offensive scoring was present from start to finish, and at the end of the day Irving took center stage. His 31 points on 14-of-17 shooting coupled with his 14 assists and five rebounds landed him MVP honors in the East’s high-scoring victory.

The two teams combined for the most points scored in a single All-Star Game, and the East broke the West’s record for most points by a team in an All-Star Game. Irving, who scored 15 of his 31 in the fourth, had a lot to do with both.

“Kyrie played awesome tonight,” Love said. “It was a well-deserving MVP, and there are a lot of guys that put on a show tonight. And I think the fans got their money’s worth.”

Irving led the charge in a game that showcased incredible shooting on both sides of the ball. The East shot 60.9 percent from the field compared to the West’s 51.2 percent. The difference came in the fourth, when the East held the West to 10-of-27 shooting while they maintained their 60 percent clip.

Along with Irving, Carmelo Anthony had 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting—his eight 3-pointers in the game are a new All-Star record. LeBron James had 22, and Paul George had 18. For the West, Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant each went for 38 apiece.

Love logged nearly 33 minutes, second most on the West’s roster behind Durant. He shot 5-of-11 from the field, hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished the game with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Love was steady throughout, picking his spots in a game that featured a bevy of offensive talents.

“It was great to be part of it,” Love said. “It was a lot of fun—my first time starting in the game and also my first time finishing.”

The game wrapped up a weekend-long extravaganza for Love and the other All-Stars who really go all in with events and participation. Love was in the thick of it, participating in the Foot Locker Three Point Contest on All-Star Saturday Night along with the game itself, the media circuits, NBA Cares and commercial shoots.

In the end, he said he wished the West could’ve come out with a victory but he’s happy he was able to take part.

“It was a lot of fun—coach [Scott] Brooks drew up some stuff for many different players, and you know, hopefully I’ll be back in New York next year and enjoying the festivities again.”

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