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ALL-STAR WEEKEND

Kevin Durant leads sophomores past rookies

The Oklahoma City forward scores a game-record 46 points, lifting his team of second-year players to a 122-116 victory in the NBA's Rookie Challenge.

February 14, 2009|Associated Press

Childhood friends Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley treated the Rookie Challenge like a playground duel back in Maryland.

Oklahoma City's Durant came out on top, scoring a Rookie Challenge-record 46 points to lead the NBA's sophomores to a 122-116 victory over the rookies on Friday night.

Durant broke the record of 36 set by Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire as a sophomore in 2004. Miami's Beasley led the rookies with 29 points.

"Kevin's a great player and I'm just glad to be on the court with him," said Beasley, like Durant a No. 2 overall pick in the draft. "I'm happy to be mentioned in the same breath as him."

Decked out in Day-Glo orange high-tops, Durant made 17 of 25 shots from the field, four of eight from three-point range, and all eight of his free throws. Durant also tied for the team lead with seven rebounds.

Durant helped his team hold off a late charge by the rookies with a three-point play, an emphatic dunk and two free throws in the final minutes of the Rookie Challenge, part of the NBA's All-Star weekend.

With a few seconds remaining, Durant and Beasley put their arms around each other and laughed.

"Our relationship goes way, way back," Beasley said. "To be in this type of atmosphere, in the NBA together, is a blessing. It's a dream come true. It's rare."

Portland center Greg Oden was a late scratch for the rookie team because of a sore left knee.

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