PHOENIX (TICKER) —So far, NBA All-Star Weekend has been Kevin Durant’s playground.
One day after setting the scoring record in the Rookie Challenge, Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder edged Memphis Grizzlies rookie O.J. Mayo in the outdoor H-O-R-S-E competition in All-Star Saturday Night’s opening act.
Durant, who scored 46 points to earn MVP honors in the Rookie Challenge, fell behind early in a unique shot-making event modeled after everybody’s favorite blacktop game. The reigning Rookie of the Year overtook Mayo and Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks.
The event, which took place on a makeshift court in the midst of the league’s Block Party celebration, did have a bit of new-age flair. Competitors were tagged with letters that spelled GEICO, the company that sponsored it all.
The winning shot for Durant was a 3-pointer from the deep right corner, which Mayo missed wide to the left. It was the second straight shot from the arc for Durant, who nailed one from the opposite corner to put Mayo on the brink of elimination.
Durant, however, engineered an impressive comeback after being the first to be within one letter of elimination.
Johnson was the first to be sent packing in the late stages, when he air-balled an underhanded free throw. He exited after canning a one-handed, one-footed 3-pointer to stay in the game - a shot all three participants somehow executed.