Westbrook leads West to All-Star victory
Russell Westbrook has led the West to another victory on Sunday with a 196-173 win over the East in the NBA’s 65th All-Star game.Both teams started the game fast with a combination of slam dunks, alley oops and three-point shots as the West closed the first half 92 to 90 over the East, and marked the most points ever scored in a half of an All-Star game.
The combined 182 points was also the most on record in a half for the competition. The West also made 41 field goals to ink another record, and had 28 assists to tie the existing record, in a single half.
The star players focused more on taking three-point shots in the second half to carry the scoring to new heights.
The final score of 196-173 went into the record books as the most points scored and the most points combined (369) in a single All-Star game.
The West also shattered records for a single All-Star game by making 31 three-point shots and 82 field goals.
Paul George of the Indiana Pacers made a total of nine three-points to score the most three-point shots by a player in the history of the competition.
George, who scored 41 points, fell one shy of Wilt Chamberlain's record of in 1962's All-Star game but reached Westbrook's record of 41 that was made last year.
Westbrook, who was chosen the most valuable player (MVP) in last year's event, repeated that achievement this year to become the MVP for the second year in a row with 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals.
The guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder is now the second player in the league to win the All-Star MVP award back-to-back, after Bob Pettit became MVP of the 1958 All-Star and shared that honor next year with Elgin Baylor.
At half-time, British singer Sting took to the stage to entertain the fans while American football players Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. together with baseball player Justin Verlander, actress Kate Upton, director Spike Lee and musician Drake were at the Air Canada Centre watching the game court side.
Farewell to Kobe Bryant
Prior to the game, Kobe Bryant, guard of the Los Angeles Lakers, received an ovation from fans, players and prominent NBA figures.
Bryant, who said this would be his final year in NBA earlier in the season, said: "It's a thrill to be here in the All-Star game...to share some of the knowledge I learned with the young players here."
The five-time NBA champion has now participated in All-Star games for a record 18 consecutive years, and won the MVP award of the competition four times during his 20 years in the league.
Bryant has also been holding some records of the All-Star competition -- most votes received by fans to compete in the game (over 30 million), and most points made total (280), most steals (38) and most offensive rebounds in an All-Star game (10), and the youngest player ever to appear (19 years, 169 days) in All-Star history.
He ended Sunday's game with 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and one steal.