Russell Westbrook notched up 41 points to power the Western Conference to victory over the Eastern Conference in the highest-scoring NBA All-Star Games in history on Sunday.
The Western Conference claimed the 64th NBA All-Star Game with a 163-158 win over the East.
Oklahoma City Thunders point guard, Westbrook, dazzled with series of high-flying dunks- one of which he slammed home with his head above the rim from Chris Paul’s alley-oop.
The 26-year-old Long Beach native set a first half scoring record of 27 points in just over 11 minutes and went on to hit 16 of 28 shots- including 5 three-pointers- and added 3 steals to claim the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) title.
Westbrook came within one point of the All-Star record 42 point held by Wilt Chamberlain in the 1962 Games and finished a point above Michael Jordan’s 40 scored in 1988.
“It’s definitely an honour to be grouped with those two guys, especially in an All-Star Game,” said Westbrook. “We were just trying to win the game and close it out.”
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James led the Eastern Conference with 30 points. Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks added 21 points- hitting 7-of12 from three-point range.
Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden matched Korver from beyond the arc in scoring 29 for the West.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward James praised Westbrook, saying: “He’s an unbelievable talent in our league. His motor, his athleticism, his demeanor about how he approaches the game, it’s all great, it’s great for our league.”
Among other All-Star history made by the 2015 Games was the Gasol brothers lining up for the opening tap as the first siblings ever to start the midseason classic. Paul Gasol of the Bulls won the jump ball from younger brother Marc of the Grizzlies.
Both sides combined for 321 points, most ever in an NBA All-Star Games.
The winning West team pocketed $50,000 in prize money, twice the amount taken home by the losers.