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Thunder Views: NBA All-Star weekend features Westbrook clinching All-Star win, George finishes heroic last in 3-point shootout

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All-Star weekend brought out something we never expected - players caring about the outcome.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The unofficial mid-season/two-thirds season breaking point is now behind us, and before we delve back into the daily stress experiment that is the 2017-18 Thunder, we can pause to reflect on what went down. And if you think you’re going to get some massive, in-depth meta-analysis from me on this, ahem, it’s the All-Star game.

First up, Paul George was an addition to this year’s 3-point shootout. Did he deserve it? Ah, yeah. He’s shooting 43% on the season and 47% in the month of February on almost 10 attempts per game. That said, the shootout rewards a specific kind of shooter — namely, the one who has compact and efficient shooting mechanics, because by the end of the round, fatigue can set in and mechanics break down. That’s why guys like Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are always favorites, and why Devin Booker ultimately won.

Here’s PG’s effort, which earned him dead last:

Which of course cued the memes, first from his teammate Russell Westbrook:

Game. Blouses.

But that didn’t mean PG missed out on an opportunity to show some love and speak resonant words about society today.

And of course much of the conversation surrounded George’s destination next year, and perhaps it is just me, but Westbrook has been far more vocal and enthusiastic about promoting his teammate and is desire to see him return this time around:

As far as how the actual game event went, there is a large consensus in the rearranged format for the game and its outcome, and that is this: Fergie is awful. So many jokes, but the obvious one to me is that someone told her to commemorate Marvin Gaye’s rendition (largely considered the best ever), but she just assumed they meant to sing it like this other Gaye classic.

For the game itself, with Russell Westbrook starting along side LeBron James and some other guys, the first quarter “feeling it out” segment was truly special, in the “how to lance a boil” kind of special. I think the challenge was that players had grown accustomed to taking lots of threes, throwing down dunks, and ignoring pretty much everything else. But this time around, suddenly players had a premonition that defense might be something to try, and the combination was less than ideal.

That said, as the game went on, players actually settled into roles. Despite Team Lebron featuring the more-illustrious lineup, Team Steph headed into the 4th quarter with a lead. That’s when eventual game MVP LeBron (like there would be any question of this outcome) took control, finishing the 4th with 10 points on 4-5 shooting, Paul George nailed two threes, redeeming himself from the night before, and Westbrook scored 8 on 3-4 shooting, including multiple key plays to deliver the 148-145 win. In LeBron’s words:

Here is the play that resulted:

Here are Westbrook’s comments in the aftermath.

Final word.

Last year’s game featured a somewhat uneasy alliance between Westbrook and #35, as you may recall. This year was a bit different. And I postulated somewhere that LeBron drafting both guys may have been the necessary salve because he’s the only one superior to both who can demand camaraderie. And while the relationship still likely has a ways to go, what we saw is that reconciliation is always available and restoration never too far away. And not to paint a bullseye too drastically, but this comment speaks volumes:

And some love:

Do these kinds of words matter? You be the judge.

Perhaps things will never be the same, but they don’t need to be. But it’s nice to be able to move forward and leave the bitterness behind. Good job, Kevin.