NEW ORLEANS -- Daniel Gibson walked away with an MVP award, and had the look of someone who has another trophy coming during All-Star Weekend.
Gibson made a record 11 3-pointers, many coming right in front of Cleveland teammate LeBron James, and scored 33 points to lead the NBA's sophomore stars to a 136-109 victory over the top rookies on Friday night.
Gibson will compete in the 3-point shootout Saturday, and will be hard to beat if he shoots the way he did against the defenseless rookies. He finished three points shy of the game record, set by Amare Stoudemire in 2004.
"My confidence will be high from tonight and hopefully I didn't use them all up," Gibson said.
He had a chance to tie Stoudemire's record, but was short from just inside halfcourt as the buzzer sounded.
As usual, there was little defense played. But things fell apart for the rookies when they started trading 2s for 3s.
The rookies led late in the first half before Gibson's surge began. He drilled back-to-back 3s to turn a three-point deficit into a three-point lead, then added three more over the next few minutes to give the sophomores a 55-44 advantage.
"Once he gets in the zone, once he hits two or three, he gets it going. He hit 11 tonight," said Durant, who like Gibson played at Texas. "I'm very happy for him. He went from a second-round pick to win an MVP in the rookie-sophomore game."
Most of Gibson's 3s came from the left side, where James had a courtside seat along with fellow All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. James rose and screamed after a couple of them, and once even walked all the way to the scorer's table, perhaps to say something to one of the television announcers.
"Every shot I made, I pointed to him, or I saw him doing something over there," Gibson said. "It's kind of like the chemistry we got on the floor. Just the way we're supportive of each other, that big brother-little brother type of thing."
Gibson, who missed the last four games with a strained hamstring, was 7-of-12 behind the arc in the first half, tying the single-game record set by Kyle Korver in 2005. The sophomores led 66-52 at the break.
Gibson added two more 3s in the final 3 minutes and finished 11-of-20. James was still on his feet for the last two, walking to the baseline with his arms in the air in celebration on the final one.
It was a quite an improvement for many of the second-year players, who were run off the floor in a 155-114 loss last year as rookies.
However, they didn't have Gibson, who emerged as a key player for the Cavs late in the season, when his outside shooting sparked their surprising run to the NBA Finals. That included a 19-point fourth quarter in the victory that wrapped up the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit.
"The last time I remember shooting like this was probably Game 6 in the fourth quarter," Gibson said. "I never dreamed I'd come out and shoot the ball as well as I did in an environment, an atmosphere like this."
The sophomores finished 17-of-32 (53 percent) from behind the arc. The rookies were 4-for-9.