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A host of NBA stars converged upon Oklahoma City Sunday night for the US Tracking Fleet Basketball Invitational hosted by hometown hero Kevin Durant. They did not disappoint, putting on quite a show for the energetic crowd.
With a final score of 176-171, players like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and several others made sure the fans stayed entertained until the final whistle.a
Surprisingly, the high-scorer was Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, who finished with a Maravich-esque 56 points on 25-of-35 shooting from the field. Behind him, not-so-surprisingly, was Melo, who poured in a cool 43. King James finished with 40, and Westbrook added 34, but it would be the host himself, Kevin Durant, who put on the biggest show of all.
KD finished with a triple double, putting up 42 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists, leaving the crowd enraptured throughout the scintillating performance. Other players invited to the affair included LaMarcus Aldridge, Johnny Flynn, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Green (once a Thunder player before his 2010-11 mid-season trade to Boston), Rudy Gay, Amar’e Stoudemire and John Wall.
Of course, Melo, Stoudemire, and Paul were all on the Blue Team, giving Big Apple fans a taste of what it could be like to have their own Big Three (Paul will be a free agent after the 2012-13 season). The exhibition match ran like a Golden State Warriors vs. New York Knicks game—strictly offense with a small smattering of defense sprinkled in.
Players joked and dilly-dallied around for the first three quarters, but buckled down in the closing minutes when victory and subsequent bragging rights were on the line. After being sent into overtime, it would be James and Durant that would pull the White team away for the win.
With the players exhibiting so much energy in what was a glorified All-Star game, it’s clear that they’re ready to get back to business and play NBA basketball. But if the lockout drags on, we’ll be sure to see more invitationals in the near future.
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