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Michael Beasley, left, and Kevin Durant share a laugh during Friday's game. ((Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press))

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant scored a game-record 46 points to lead the NBA's sophomores to a 122-116 victory over the rookies on Friday night in Phoenix.

Durant shattered the record of 36 set by Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire in 2004. Durant helped hold off a late charge by the rookies with a three-point play, an emphatic dunk and two free throws in the final minutes.

Michael Beasley of Miami led the rookies with 29 points.

Oft-injured Portland centre Greg Oden was a late scratch with a sore left knee after bumping into Golden State's Corey Maggette on Thursday night. Though he was drafted two years ago, Oden was a member of the rookie team because he missed last season with injuries.

The sophomore squad has won the last seven in the game designed to showcase some of the league's bright young talent during its all-star weekend festivities.

The rookies closed to 119-116 on a jumper by O.J. Mayo with 11 seconds left. But Durant made two free throws to push the lead back to five.

"I approached it like a regular game," Durant said. "I wanted to go out and have fun. Fortunately, my shots were going down."

Most shots were successful in the procession of uncontested layups and wide-open three-pointers.

In the first of two 20-minute halves, the sophomores shot 68.4 per cent from the floor, including 63.6 per cent from beyond the arc. The rookies lagged at an almost embarrassing 52.6 per cent from the field, and 40 per cent from three-point range, but still led 61-58 at intermission.

Durant played hard from the start. He hit 17 of 25 shots from the floor, 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, and made all eight of his free throws. Durant also tied for the team lead with seven rebounds.

Beasley said he came to win.

"It is not cool when you lose," he said before the game. "I like to be the cool guy. Cool guys don't lose. I will play hard."

When Durant hung on the rim after an emphatic dunk early in the second half, Beasley signalled for a technical foul. The officials simply smiled.

The league will hold its skills night on Saturday, with the all-star game the following night.