21 February 2011
The early returns are in when it comes to how the Oklahoma City Thunder fared at the 2011 NBA All-Star weekend. James Harden was excellent in the Rookie Challange on Friday night. Russell Westbrook just got nosed out of the Skills Challenge on Saturday night, which also saw Kevin Durant fail to reach the finals of the 3-Point Shootout and Serge Ibaka get screwed out of the Slam Dunk Contest. That was the first couple of nights.
As for the game itself, Durant scored 34 points, which was second only to Kobe Bryant, who finished with a game high 37 on his way to capturing yet another All-Star Game MVP award. Westbook finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in just 14 minutes of action.
But while Sunday went quite well, the one thing I will take away most from this past weekend is how Ibaka got absolutely robbed in the dunk competition.
I have no problem that Blake Griffin won the event. That was a foregone conclusion, considering it took place in Los Angeles. Everyone knew he would advance to the finals and win the fans vote. That was as easy of a call as Justin Bieber winning the MVP in the Celebrity Game on Friday night. What do you think the demographics were when it came to online voting?
All I know is that Julius Erving jumped from well within the free throw line. He won the contest. Michael Jordan was right on it, and he also won. So did Brent Barry, as unimpressive as that seems to be as we look back now. Ibaka took off well before the free throw line. Not only did he fail to receive a 50, but he did not even advance to the finals.
No offense to Griffin and JaVale McGee, but that was ridiculous.
* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24.
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