OKC's Kevin Durant Picks Up MVP Honors As Western Conference Tops East
Grant Belcher, News9.com
ORLANDO – All the great players have one.
Though it might not count toward the Thunder's regular season goals, Kevin Durant picked up his first All-Star Game MVP trophy.
Durant led his Western Conference All-Stars to an intense 152-149 victory over the East on Sunday night in Orlando.
He had 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting, playing his typical role of clutch scorer although on a bit more talented roster. Durant fell just short of the All-Star Game record of 42 set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.
He also played a game-high 37 minutes, as Western Conference coach Scott Brooks obviously knew where his loyalties lie.
For the final minutes of the close game, Brooks had both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the court, though Westbrook was not an original starter for the team.
Westbrook put up a valiant effort as well, scoring 21 points off the bench on 10-of-17 shooting.
As usual, the game started off casual with plenty of dunks and no defense. But as the game went on, the competitive nature of the best players in the world took over, and most of the fourth quarter looked like a legitimate NBA game.
LeBron James led the East in scoring, tying Durant's game-high 36. James led the East on a furious comeback after the West led by more than 20 points in the second half.
But James' efforts were not enough and his team's 19 turnovers cost them.
The last player to win an All-Star game MVP for Oklahoma City's franchise actually dates back to the Seattle Supersonics days when Tom Chambers picked up the award in 1987.
The Thunder players will have a couple of more days off before picking the action back up on Wednesday. OKC travels to Philadelphia for a 6 p.m. central time tipoff against the Sixers.