Westbrook earns sixth All-Star Game selection

Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook driving to the basket as Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (No. 40) attempts to stop him. The Thunder point guard, who had 45 points on the night, was named in the Western Conference team's reserves rost
Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook driving to the basket as Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (No. 40) attempts to stop him. The Thunder point guard, who had 45 points on the night, was named in the Western Conference team's reserves roster for next month's All-Star Game.PHOTO: REUTERS

OKLAHOMA CITY • Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, a notable absentee from the starting line-ups for next month's All-Star Game, was selected among the reserves for the marquee exhibition match.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Thursday that Westbrook, averaging a league-best 30.7 points per game this season, will be among the Western Conference reserves.

The All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player in 2015 and 2016, he was overlooked as a West starting guard in voting by fans, players and the media as Golden State's Stephen Curry and James Harden of the Houston Rockets were selected in his position instead.

The 28-year-old, also averaging a triple-double (including 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists) through 46 games this season, will make his sixth All-Star Game appearance.

On Thursday, he hit 45 points to lead the Thunder to a 109-98 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

However, the win came at a huge cost for Oklahoma City, as forward Enes Kanter broke his right arm after losing his cool.

Kanter, Oklahoma City's third-leading scorer and top candidate for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award, fractured his right forearm while punching a chair during a timeout in the second quarter.

The centre went for X-rays at half-time and after the game Thunder coach Billy Donovan confirmed the fracture.

"It's tough man," Westbrook said, "especially doing it the way he did it. I think it's unfortunate, but he's a strong man and he will be back better."

The full All-Star roster for the West, winners of the last two editions, are Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Gordon Hayward.

The East will be represented by Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Jimmy Butler, Giannis, Antetokounmpo, Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, Paul George, Kemba Walker, and Paul Millsap.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2017, with the headline 'Westbrook earns sixth All-Star Game selection'. Print Edition | Subscribe