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It’s been a little more than 2 months since Russell Westbrook returned from a broken hand injury which caused him to miss 14 games. Westbrook hasn’t missed a beat since he’s been back on the court, scoring 32 points and finishing with 7 assists and 8 rebounds in his first game back on November 28th. Since that time he’s been playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 26.1 points, 7.8 assists, 6.6 rebounds and helping his Thunder team to a 24-13 record since his return which is 5th best in the NBA in that span.
Westbrook’s stellar play continued on All-Star Sunday night where he scored a game high 41 points which was just 1 point short of the NBA All-Star record of 42 set by the great Wilt Chamberlain in 1962. Westbrook came off the bench and played just 26 minutes but in that short period of time he dominated, shooting 16 for 28 from the field including 5 for 9 from deep and a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe. Westbrook completed his line by adding 3 steals and 5 rebounds in route to being named MVP for his performance.
The 41 points by Westbrook almost doubles his previous high of 21 points which he scored in the 2012 All-Star game.
While Westbrook missed setting the all-time high for points in a game he did set the record for most points in a half with the 27 points he scored in the 1st half of Sunday’s game, a record which was previously held by Kyrie Irving and Glen Rice with 24 points.
Westbrook added the dunk of the night as well:
Chris Paul led the West with 15 assists and James Harden who started in place for the injured Kobe Bryant scored 29 points on an efficient 11 for 16 from the field, but it was Westbrook who was the clear cut MVP on the night.
The East were led in scoring by Lebron James who finished with 30 points and added 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Pau Gasol of the Bulls scored 10 points and had a team high 12 rebounds.
The East just didn’t have enough fire power to compete with the offensive explosion from Westbrook and the West who got up bu as many as 20 points early and maintained their lead throughout most of the game.