Sports briefs 2-17-14: East gets by Durant, Griffin to win All-Star game

BRIAN MAHONEY AP Basketball Writer Published:

NEW ORLEANS -- The Eastern Conference finally stopped Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin -- then stopped its losing streak at the NBA All-Star game.

Kyrie Irving had 31 points and 14 assists and was voted the game's MVP, Carmelo Anthony made an All-Star record eight 3-pointers and scored 30 points, and the East rallied for a 163-155 victory over the West on Sunday night.

"It's a great honor," Irving said. "We had a few MVPs. Everyone out here today is an MVP."

Durant and Griffin each finished with 38 points, four shy of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star game record. But the East scored the final 10 points to pull out a game it trailed by 18.

Irving scored 15 points in the fourth quarter as the East ended a three-game losing streak. LeBron James had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Griffin shot 19 of 23, while Durant finished with 10 rebounds and six assists.

But the West was shut out after Durant's 3-pointer gave it a 155-153 lead with 1:59 left. Indiana's Paul

• Baseball

Taking year off: Boston Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster plans to take this season off, a decision that surprised teammates and will cost the 16-year veteran $13.25 million in salary.

Dempster, whose contract expires after this season, finished his only year with the Red Sox with an 8-9 record and a 4.57 ERA and didn't get a start during their postseason run to a World Series title.

Burnett deal finalized: A.J. Burnett and the Philadelphia Phillies have completed a contract that guarantees the pitcher $15 million for 2014 and $22.5 million over two seasons.

Under the deal finalized Sunday, Burnett would make $33.5 million over two seasons if he makes 30 starts or more in both years.

Will honor Kiner: The New York Mets will honor late broadcaster Ralph Kiner by wearing a uniform patch all season and having an on-field ceremony on opening day.

The commemorative patch will be located on the right sleeve of the team's jerseys in spring training and the regular season.

• Golf

Watson wins: Bubba Watson wasn't about to let another chance get away.

Two weeks after Watson made a pair of late bogeys in the Phoenix Open, he delivered the best closing round at Riviera in some three decades. Watson played the final 39 holes without a bogey and shot a 7-under 64 on Sunday to win the Northern Trust Open.

Webb victorious: Australia's Karrie Webb won the Women's Australian Open for the record fifth time, shooting a 4-under 68 to beat South Africa's Chella Choi by a stroke.

Webb birdied the 18th hole, then watched as Choi, who shot a course-record 62 on Saturday, push her 10-foot putt wide at 18 to miss a chance for a playoff.

Historic tree lost: The Eisenhower Tree, so much a part of Augusta National that not even a sitting U.S. president could have it taken down, was removed from the 17th hole this weekend because of damage from an ice storm, the club said Sunday.

• Elsewhere

Dillon on pole: With the famed No. 3 on his car and memories of the late Dale Earnhardt fresh in his mind, Austin Dillon took the fabled number out of hibernation and straight to the top at Daytona.

Dillon reawakened the days of The Intimidator and proved he can handle the spotlight thrust on his ride in the 3, winning the pole Sunday for the season-opening Daytona 500.

He took the top spot with a lap at 196.019 mph in NASCAR's season opener in a car Richard Childress has refused to field at NASCAR's top level since Earnhardt's fatal accident on the last lap of the 2001 race.

Costas returning: NBC's Bob Costas plans to make his return to NBC on tonight after being off the air for a week with an eye infection.

"Today" host Matt Lauer subbed for Costas one last time on NBC's Sunday night telecast, and that Costas is preparing for his return in prime-time.

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