For the first time all season the Barclays Center was graced with presence of elite basketball. The mediocre Nets lent their home to the NBA’s brightest stars for what was perhaps the most entertaining All-Star Weekend in recent memory. On Friday, Kevin Hart nabbed his 4th consecutive Celebrity Game MVP. On Saturday, Zach LaVine soared and Steph Curry swooshed. On Sunday, Russell Westbrook took over the world.
His turbo-speed, reckless assault on the rim was quintessential Russ. It was everything his supporters love about him and everything his haters hate. On the biggest stage he cemented his superstar status, dropping 41 points just one shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time mark set back in 1962. He came off the bench scorching hot, with 27 points in just 11 minutes in first half. Not be cooled off by the halftime break, Russ drilled there consecutive 3’s to start the second half.
His display was brilliant by all accounts. MVP title. Western Conference victory. Game Over. Russ wins. It was an aggressive, cathartic release from an Energizer bunny with something to prove.
Granted none of this matters beyond sheer entertainment value. The Thunder sit in 9th in a loaded Western Conference and are far from guaranteed to climb back into the upper echelon. A litany of injuries ravaged the first half of their season, but Russ’s Sunday night display left a simple message: watch out.
All-Star Game Westbrook paired with newly cynical Kevin Durant may be the scariest duo to hit the hardwood and it will be a joy to watch. While none of the Phoenix/San Antonio/Los Angeles trio deserves to miss the playoffs, the world deserves to see the Thunder back where they belong.
Keep doing you Russ, you hyper-speed freak you.