By Randy Renner
For the first time in Thunder history the team will have two of its players start the NBA All-Star Game. Superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were both elected as starters for next month’s game in Toronto by NBA fans around the world.
The Thunder is the only team in the NBA with teammates voted in as starters. The other starters for the Western Conference will be Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who had 1.9 million votes to lead all players. Golden State’s Steph Curry and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard were also elected. The Eastern Conference starters are Cleveland’s LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, Indiana’s Paul George, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
After receiving 980,787 votes, the third most in the Western Conference, Durant is set to make his seventh All-Star appearance and his fifth start. He is the only player in NBA history to record 30 or more points in four consecutive All-Star games (2011-2014).
This season, Durant is averaging 26.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.19 blocks in 35.5 minutes. Durant has scored 20 or more points in each of the last 29 games, representing the longest current streak in the NBA.
With 772,009 votes, the fifth most in the Western Conference, Westbrook is scheduled to make his first All-Star start and his fifth All-Star game appearance. Last season, Westbrook received All-Star game MVP honors after posting a game-high 41 points to go along five rebounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
With averages of 24.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 9.8 assists, Westbrook is currently on pace to join Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. So far this season, Westbrook has posted the second most double-doubles and triple-doubles in the NBA with 28 and five, respectively.
The 65th NBA All-Star Game will tip off on Sunday, Feb. 14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the first All-Star Game to be held outside of the U.S. The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages.