After all the strange things happening to the underwhelming
Westbrook had 41 points, one fewer than Wilt Chamberlain in 1962 and one more than
It was Westbrook's game from the time he stepped on the court midway through the first quarter. By the time he sat down 11 minutes later, he had 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting, an All-Star record for points in a half.
"Westbrook came at it from the start," said
Not that there was exemplary defense.
For the second year in a row, there was an All-Star record for combined points, the teams' 323 topping last year's 318.
Before that, the record was a mere 303 in 1987.
Still, Westbrook made five of nine three-point attempts and found plenty of other ways to score, including two dunks off alley-oop passes from Chris Paul.
Paul also found him for a dunk off an inbounds play, not that Westbrook didn't create plays on his own, including a dunk off a third-quarter steal.
Westbrook made 16 of 28 shots and added five rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes.
He was within three points of tying Chamberlain with just under a minute left, but
Westbrook didn't show any disappointment, even though he knew he was close to the all-time mark.
"Somebody told me, but at that time we were just trying to find a way to win the game and find a way to close the game out," he said. "But I missed about six or seven layups. I definitely could have had it."
Westbrook's final points were two free throws with one second left after being fouled on purpose as the East tried to get the ball back.
The night was a welcome change for Thunder followers who had seen their team limp to a 28-25 record at the break, almost entirely because
It was also a great weekend for former UCLA players. Zach LaVine won the dunk competition Saturday and Westbrook followed it up with his Sunday effort.
Had the East won, there might have been a case to give the MVP to James, who moved into second place in career All-Star scoring, passing Michael Jordan (262 points) and
Kyle Korver was second-best on the East with 21 points, all from three-point range. Harden had a solid stat line for the West: 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Carmelo Anthony, the hometown hero for the
Knicks fans proved to have good short-term recall by booing West Coach Steve Kerr during pregame introductions. Kerr was the first choice of Knicks President Phil Jackson but chose to coach
Knicks fans were much more appreciative toward former President
The cheers in the end were for Westbrook. His West teammates were impressed too.
"Any time you can score 40 points in an All Star game, that's pretty cool," Stephen Curry said.