The Oklahoma City Thunder only had one participant in All-Star Saturday Night this year. Russell Westbrook decided to participate in the Shooting Stars competition, despite the fact that his skillset would be much more suited to the dunk competition. In response to questions about this fact, Westbrook has said, "I only dunk on people."
In any case, Westbrook's team for the shooting stars competition consisted of NBA legend Penny Hardaway and Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings. Westbrook's team went second, immediately following Team Curry. Team Curry consisted of Steph Curry, his dad Del, and Seattle Storm PG Sue Bird. They posted a respectable time of 47 seconds flat, putting the pressure on Team Westbrook. You can see Westbrook's first run below:
So, yeah, Penny Hardaway went perfect from the field, and Westbrook didn't even have to attempt a half-court shot. I can't claim to have seen Penny Hardaway play a ton in real life, but man, did he tear it up during the late 90's editions of NBA Live. I clearly remember him hitting really deep threes in those games, so it's clear he has the skillset for this competition. Meanwhile, Catchings really struggled from her spot and started before she was supposed to.
Team Westbrook's time of 35.2 seconds would be good enough to advance them to the championship round. Team Milsap (including Scottie Pippen and Elena Delle Donne) scored well below Westbrook's team with a score of 51.4 seconds. However, Team Westbrook's first round score would ultimately be trumped by Team Bosh (including Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash). Team Bosh posted a crazy quick time of 30.8 seconds, showcasing little effort.
Thus, with the lower score, Team Westbrook went first in the championship round. Here's how it went:
Complete and utter disaster. Penny Hardaway missed his first shot pretty badly to the left, and it took him a couple of shots to get his rhythm back. Hardaway did get crazily close towards the end though, and you can tell that he practices this shot a bit. Westbrook, on the other hand, took all of his shots with a running start. I think that works for him in games because it's how he draws fouls. But I've never actually seen him make a ton of crazily deep shots, and I think his lack of range shows here. Meanwhile, Catchings went the laser route, trying to bank it in off the glass. That's always a viable option, but it's riskier because you've got to throw the ball at a higher velocity.
Obviously, Team Westbrook's maxed out time of 90 seconds was beaten by Team Bosh. Bosh's team was able to cruise through the final round, posting a lackadaisical time of 57.6 seconds. This left Team Bosh as the Shooting Stars Champions for the third straight year. There was little animosity from Westbrook though. It wasn't long before he had forgotten about the competition altogether, and changed into more fashionable duds.
This was Russell Westbrook's second attempt at winning the Shooting Stars competition. Team Westbrook originally lost to Team Bosh in the Championship round back in 2013. Prior to that, Westbrook participated in the Skills Challenge for three straight years, from 2010-2012. For a complete history of the Thunder at the All-Star Game, check out my retrospective.