HOUSTON — As Chris Paul tends to do, he stole it late.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 30 points, but wasn’t able to secure a second consecutive All-Star Game MVP as Paul took over the game late, finishing with 20 points and 15 assists.
“He deserved it,” KD said. “He had great passes, making steals, made big buckets. He played a hell of a game and congratulations to him. It was a pleasure playing with him.”
Durant did accomplish something very impressive tonight though. Per @ThunderStats, Durant is the first player in All-Star history to register three consecutive 30-point games. He also added to the highest All-Star scoring average in history (minimum three games), taking it from 28.3 to 28.8.
In four appearances, KD has scored a total of 115 points — the most ever for a player in his first four games — putting him right on track to eclipse Kobe Bryant for the most total points in All-Star history (280). At his current pace, Durant would pass that number in his 10th appearance (Kobe just had his 15th).
“I’m shooting a lot of shots, 24 shots up in 31 minutes,” he said. “I played a lot of street basketball. I played a lot of celebrity games. This is my type of ballgame, up and down. Blake Griffin and Dwight cleared the paint off for me. And having a point guard like CP and Russ — I play with Russ all the time. The point guards made it easy for me. It was fun.”
Speaking of, Russell Westbrook finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes. Nothing mind-blowing from Westbrook, but he did finish a quality alley-oop from James Harden and was his typical ball of energy.
Oh yeah, James Harden. This was the first time that Westbrook, Durant and Harden all were on the floor together as teammates since the trade. I wouldn’t say it was weird, because we’re way past all that now, but it definitely invoked some memories.
“It was fun,” KD said of playing with Harden again. “Playing with him today made me miss him a little bit. I’m happy he was an All-Star, especially in the city he plays in. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t want it to be over.”
And, now I have the sads.
A very nice showing from the Thunder, and a pretty fun game. Now it’s back to business though. Twenty-nine games remaining before the second season starts.
A COUPLE NOTES:
- KD took the most shots in tonight’s game by six attempts. He took nine more than any of his other Western teammates.
- The next two guys closest to Durant in attempts? Westbrook and Harden each with 13. Thunder U knows how to get their shots up.
- Harden on playing with KD and Westbrook: [KD] just told me he missed me in the locker room again. I miss those guys as well. Just being with them every day, when you leave somewhere, you are definitely going to miss them. This weekend was good for us to just see each other and catch up on good times.
- One thing I’m especially thankful the Thunder don’t do is have either a) fat guys with their shirts off or b) elderly people dancing during timeouts.
- The second highest scoring average in All-Star history is LeBron James (25.1).
- KD on Kobe’s block of LeBron: “It was a great block. I haven’t really seen any MVP get a jumper blocked like that.”
- How the MVP voting shook out: CP3 got eight out of 12 possible votes. Kobe got two, Durant and LeBron each got one.
- KD’s reverse was very pretty.
- Houston did a tremendous job of hosting the All-Star Game. Very well setup, great execution and the arena was outstanding. The video board is amazing.
- One thing I wasn’t impressed much by was the support of Houston fans though. The arena had some empty seats tonight and there wasn’t much energy for what was a really competitive game. Also, they didn’t erupt and cheer Harden much at all. I guess he might not really be Their Guy completely yet, but when he checked in for the first time, it was crickets.
- Subtle, but very classy move by KD to finish the game: He had the ball as time was ticking out, but threw it across court to Harden who got to have the ball as the clock expired on All-Star Weekend in his city.