The Thunder was well represented at All-Star Saturday night, but I’m not so sure they represented well.
Russell Westbrook made it to the finals of the Skill Competition, but couldn’t win it, losing to Stephen Curry. Westbrook’s first round 30-second run was second best overall, only to Curry’s 28.1-second finals time. Westbrook though couldn’t finish as he put up a 44.1-second run to finish. He struggled getting the bounce pass through, then missed his jumper and then couldn’t get the outlet pass. I will say his two dunks to finish were neato though.
Kevin Durant was a pretty big disappointment, only scoring six points in the 3-point competition. He never got going and didn’t seem comfortable with the pick-it-up-and-shoot-it rhythm. He finished with the lowest score of the evening, behind Daniel Gibson who had just seven and actually ran out of time leaving three balls on the rack.
Serge Ibaka though, showed up pretty big.
You knew Ibaka was going to bust out the free throw line dunk because that’s his bread and butter. And he used it to start off. He nailed it perfectly. The reaction the crowd gave originally was lukewarm, but upon replay, there was some serious buzz. Plus, the presentation before was neat with Serge coming out representing NBA Africa. Nice touch. The fact he only got a 45 was ridiculous. The judges need to consult the replay before giving out their score.
Ibaka’s second try was, um, not my favorite thing ever. We’d heard Serge was planning to use a prop and he went up and grabbed a little Rumble doll for this kid that ran out looking for his toy. He missed on the first try which really killed the buzz of it. But upon replay, wow. His face really was at the iron as he pulled the toy down with his mouth.
A lot of people felt like Ibaka would disappoint and while he didn’t move on to the finals, he showed well I thought. He was completely robbed on the free throw line dunk and while his Rumble doll move lost its buzz when he missed the first time, watching the replay was insane. The elevation Ibaka got was just nuts.
Overall, a ton of fun to see three Thunder players competing on All-Star Saturday and despite the semi-disappointing results, the fact Oklahoma City was so well represented is a massive victory in of itself. And to think, we’ve still got two more guys to go in the main event Sunday.