LOS ANGELES — In his first start as an All-Star, Kevin Durant came out looking a bit nervous. He didn’t flinch when he was introduced with Lenny Kravitz blaring behind him. No dancing. No smiling.
And when the game started, KD clanged his first two jumpers. Then, like the Durantula often does, he got cooking.
KD finished the game with 34 points, second only to Kobe Bryant’s 37, in which he took home MVP honors for. Durant was 11-23 and 4-11 from 3 and put up some nice highlight worthy plays. He had a pretty rip and dunk in the first quarter, then right before the half finished a nifty lob from Chris Paul. Durant played a Western-high 30 minutes and really looked to be in to the game in the second half.
Durant got going late in the game as the East closed in on the West’s lead, knocking down a silly step-back jumper which he followed up by draining a 3. Naturally, the next three possessions Kobe had the ball, with Durant going without a touch. No bother though, because we all get it. When Kobe’s on the floor in that situation, he’s not letting someone else get it.
You could tell Russell Westbrook had Staples on the edge of its seat at all times. When he had the ball, the arena just buzzed with anticipation. Russ had a nice fastbreak dunk and finished with 12 points on 6-12 shooting. He and Kevin Love were the last two to check into the game and in the end, Westbrook finished with just 14 minutes.
But not a bad showing by our Thunder representatives in this one. Being in Los Angeles, you’d be shocked at what a household name not only KD is, but Westbrook too. Everyone was talking about Durant and every All-Star billboard, poster or sign featured KD on it with LeBron, Wade and Kobe (and whoever else). Despite what Durant might say, he’s a big time star. Whether he likes it or not.
- I was kind of disappointed that when Westbrook was announced, the PA guy didn’t say he was from UCLA. I don’t know why I expected him to, but he didn’t. Left it out for Kevin Love too.
- Staples can get eerily quiet. I realize this was an All-Star atmosphere, but it’s a totally different world here. People just aren’t near as into the game in terms of outward display. I don’t think they’re not paying attention, but it’s just not an excited arena. At the same time though, it kind of gives it this classy feel, which I find really cool.
- Speaking of, I got to hear the organ that I love so much. I wish so badly the Thunder would go with the in-game musical stylings of the Lakers instead of all the weird tunes they play now. I just love that organ stuff. So classic NBA.
- Serge Ibaka’s dunk prop kid was brought out for some awesome break dancing for one of the TV timeouts. It was impressive. But with him being out there, I couldn’t help but wonder if that whole thing with him losing his toy was staged or something…
- Chris Bosh guarded KD just once, and when he did, Durant crossed him big time and dished to Pau Gasol for an easy layup.
- Also: In a new NBA “big head” ad played in the arena, Chris Bosh and KD are next to each other in a pool and Bosh says “Feeling good Kevin?” Total coincidence? Or is the NBA really that clever?
- The PA guy called Westbrook’s name out as “Wussell Westbwook” a couple times.
- There’s just no downplaying how cool it was for Durant to be called out as a starter in this game. This is the first in a long line of starts for him, but this was certainly a neat moment.