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Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Damian Lillard soak up All-Star experience

NEW YORK — During Friday’s media session, Kyle Korver admitted that the fact he’s an All-Star was still a bit surreal. Incredible, but surreal.

“This is kind of fresh,” said Korver, who was named an All-Star by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after Dwyane Wade pulled out with an injury. “It’s been two days since I found out, so it hasn’t really sunk in.”

By the time the former Jazz sharpshooter finished his All-Star weekend, including an early exit in the 3-Point Contest and his participating in Sunday night’s main event at Madison Square Garden, it’d certainly sunk in a little bit more.

Sinking in was a theme for the Hawks’ standout during the West’s entertaining 163-158 victory over the East in this star-studded event.

Korver sank seven of the game’s 48 made 3-pointers and finished with 21 points, which was the second-most on the East behind LeBron James’ 30.

“That was fun, for sure,” said Korver, who played in Utah from 2007-10. “I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I thought it was an entertaining game. It was fun to get some shots off.”

The soon-to-be 34-year-old, the fourth-oldest first-time All-Star in NBA history, had the best showing Sunday of the three All-Stars with Utah ties.

Power forward Paul Millsap, who some might recognize as being the older brother of current Jazzman Elijah Millsap, had six rebounds, five points and three assists while playing with three of his Atlanta teammates, including Korver.

And former Weber State star Damian Lillard had 11 points after being named a late injury fill-in for Blake Griffin.

“Last year was my first time. This year, I was a little bit more comfortable,” said Lillard, who finished his Wildcat career in 2012. “It just seemed it was one of those I’ve-been-here-before type of feels. I had fun. I enjoyed it. Hopefully, it will be more to come.” The Blazers point guard voiced his displeasure about what he felt was a disrespectful slight when he wasn’t voted in as an All-Star by the coaches. His play this season backed up the notion that he was snubbed: 21.5 points, 6.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds.

“I was disappointed, because I felt like my team had a great season. I was having my best individual season,” Lillard said. “But other guys were great also. I felt like they were all worthy. I was just disappointed that I wasn’t one of them, but it all worked out.”

Lillard preferred not being involved in events on all three nights of All-Star weekend like last year when he participated in a record five competitions.

“I loved it,” he said.

Korver and Millsap had similar feelings for being part of an All-Star Game with four Hawks (also including Jeff Teague and Al Horford) and Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer. Those four Hawks were on the court simultaneously numerous times.

“It was fun. I wanted to run our sets,” Millsap said. “I wanted to run a few plays, then I had to realize it’s the All-Star Game, but it was still fun out there.”

The 30-year-old Millsap, who spent his first seven seasons in Utah, soaked in his second All-Star Game for multiple reasons.

“I had my teammates out there with me. It’s always good when guys on your team are out there to enjoy the experience (with you). Coach is my coach,” Millsap said. “The second time around it’s a little bit easier. Last year I had a little bit of jitters.”

If Korver had any jitters in the 3-point exhibition Saturday night, they were gone by Sunday. He had three deep balls in a row at one point and ended up shooting 7 for 12 from long range.

Korver smiled when an Atlanta reporter told him he was one 3-pointer shy of tying an All-Star record.

“Ahhh. C’mon, Bud. Get me back in the game,” Korver said, laughing. “I left some out there. I had some wide-open ones. It’s OK.”

Millsap said Korver might’ve wanted to prove something after he didn’t make the finals of the 3-point contest eventually won by Steph Curry.

“In competitions like that, they’re not for guys like Kyle. Kyle is a gamer,” Millsap said. “He’s definitely a gamer. You see it tonight. He went 7 for 12 tonight. When he gets in a game, it’s a whole different story. It’s a little different shooting off the racks.”

It’s a little bit different for Korver knowing that he’s an All-Star, too.

“All-Star’s never really been on my radar,” he said. “It’s never been a goal. … I love to play basketball.”

Like Millsap and Lillard, Korver certainly seemed to fit on center stage with a couple dozen of the best basketball players in the NBA.

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