Thunder notebook: Russell Westbrook continues with his All-Star bid
Borrowing a phrase from Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, teammate Kevin Durant has been “going bananas” lately with superlative performances, and Friday night's career-high 52-point outing against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center was another example.
Durant's second career 50-point game came one day after he officially was announced as a starter the third straight season for the NBA All-Star Game, which will be staged at the Toyota Center in Houston on Feb. 17.
Westbrook has gone bananas lately himself, with 31 points, six rebounds and a team-high six assists in the 117-114 overtime victory over the Mavs.
NBA coaches will select reserve players within their own conference, with the results announced Thursday.
Westbrook already had the full attention of opposing coaches, but three straight 30-point games while shooting 38 for 70 (.543) from the field certainly should help the cause for his third straight appearance as an All-Star reserve.
There were four players on the court Friday night who have had at least one 50-point game — Dirk Nowitzki (two) and Vince Carter (two) of the Mavericks; Durant (two) and Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin (one).
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The Mavs have sold out 451 consecutive regular-season games at AAC, which is an NBA-best sellout streak that began Dec. 15, 2001. Dallas also has sold out 60 straight playoff games during that stretch.
The Thunder has 69 consecutive regular-season sellouts, plus 19 straight in the postseason.
The Thunder shot 54.5 percent from the floor en route to a 30-22 lead in the first quarter against Dallas on Friday, but didn't break 50 percent again until the overtime period, when it shot 57.1 percent. … OKC shot just 6 for 19 from the field (31.6 percent) in the fourth quarter, but went 12 for 12 from the free-throw line. … Neither team led by more than three points in the final six minutes of regulation and overtime. … There were 11 lead changes and 10 ties. … OKC tied a season-high with 18 offensive rebounds, which helps explain why the Thunder outscored Dallas 25-11 in second-chance points. … The Thunder is 20-3 against Western Conference teams and 13-5 on the road.
Brooks on Durant scoring 52 points despite shooting 13 for 31 from the field: “Sometimes when your shot doesn't fall, you've got to find a way to attack the basket and will yourself to get opportunities. He did that tonight and got opportunities at the free-throw line. He's an amazing player and he deserves everything that he has earned.”