RUSSELL WESTBROOK turned the 2015 NBA All-Star Game into his latest showcase with 41 points as the Western Conference topped the Eastern Conference, 163-158, on Sunday night in New York City. Folks were expecting a game full of monster dunks, ridiculous passes and slothful defence, and that’s exactly what the league’s best treated them to.
A year after the All-Star records were set for points by a team (163) and points overall (318), the records were tied and broken, respectively, at Madison Square Garden. The two teams also combined for an incredible 48 three-pointers, and a countless number of incredible dunks.
The barrage of highlights gave way to a tight final minute as the two teams showed a little competitiveness, but the East missed a number of open shots that could’ve made things more interesting. Instead, the West were able to send Westbrook to the line with 1.3 seconds remaining to put the game away.
Westbrook wasted no time getting his own Sunday night, piling up 15 shots in 11 first-half minutes en route to an All-Star record 27 points before halftime. He wasn’t as active in the second half, only adding 14 points, but the finishing line of 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting, five rebounds and three steals is nothing to scoff at.
The Thunder guard was one point short of Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record of 42 points, set in 1962.
Westbrook and company got out to a double-digit lead early, finishing the first quarter up, 47-36, then extended their advantage to 60-42 just minutes into the second. The East finally started rallying from there, getting three-pointers from several players, and caught up to trail by just one point, 83-82, at halftime.
The game would stay close throughout the second half, with neither team leading by more than seven points. Things were tied up, 122-122, after three quarters, and the teams proceeded to trade buckets for the first few minutes of the fourth period. The West eventually got a run to lead by seven late in the fourth, and held on defensively as the East missed some open chances to add some suspense.
LeBron James led the East with 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Kyle Korver added 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting off the bench. John Wall also played well, putting up 19 points and seven assists. Westbrook got a lot of help from James Harden, who scored 29 points on 16 shots. LaMarcus Aldridge was efficient with 18 points in 18 minutes. — SBNation