Kevin Durant was voted as a starter for the Western Conference at next Sunday's All-Star Game in Houston, but for the first time in his career he will not participate in any of the other events.
“I've always wanted to just sit back and be one of those guys on the sideline and watch, and I've never really gotten the opportunity to, just (because I was) preparing for the 3-point contest and the H-O-R-S-E competition,” Durant said. “I was always in the shower when the dunk competition was on. I just want to sit back and enjoy it, just take it all in, maybe get a camera and document our weekend.”
Events in which Durant previously participated:
*2008-09: Rising Stars (Rookie-Sophomore) game and was MVP in 2009 with 46 points.
*2009-10: Won the only two H-O-R-S-E competitions ever held. “Yeah, I feel good about that,” Durant said with a smile.
*2011-12: Competed in the 3-point contest, finishing runner-up to Kevin Love last year.
*2010: Coached in the Rising Stars game.
*2012: Coached in the Celebrity Game.
This season marks Durant's fourth All-Star Game, his third as a starter selected by fan voting. Last year in Orlando, he was selected most valuable player of the All-Star Game, scoring 36 points in a 152-149 victory for the West, which was coached by OKC coach Scott Brooks.
DENIED THE DUNK
Durant is ninth in the league in dunks with 78, several of which would qualify as spectacular.
However, the three-time scoring champion said he doesn't envision ever being asked to display his talents in the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend.
“Nah, I'm not a dunk contest type of guy,” Durant said. “I can't jump as high as the guys they've got there now, so I'm just going to enjoy (watching) it.”
Competing in Saturday night's Dunk Contest are defending champion Jeremy Evans of Utah, Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver's Kenneth Faried, Toronto's Terrence Ross, New York's James White and former Oklahoma State signee Gerald Green of Indiana.
Former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin of the Clippers leads the league with 122 dunks this season. Serge Ibaka is second on the Thunder with 61 dunks.
In Thabo Sefolosha's first 2 1/2 seasons with the Thunder, he shot a combined 28.9 percent (78 for 270) from 3-point range. In the last two seasons, however, he has shot 41.0 percent (93 for 227).
In Friday night's 127-96 shellacking over the Phoenix Suns, Sefolosha shot his way out of a mini-slump by going 4 for 6 beyond the arc and 7 for 11 from the field to finish with a season-high 18 points. Before that outing, he had shot 6 for 26 (.231) from 3-point range.
“It's a matter of pick your poison with them,” Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said. “They have a lot of guys who aren't in the headlines but they do a lot for that team. Sefolosha is one of them. He's a guy who doesn't get the press but he knocks down shots and defends really well. They've got a bunch of guys who are co-stars who do a great job.”
With Durant (29.1 ppg) sitting out the entire fourth quarter the last three game, New York's Carmelo Anthony (28.7) had narrowed his deficit for the NBA scoring lead from 1.0 to 0.4.
Anthony has scored 94 points on 66 shots and played 121 minutes the last three games, compared to 65 points on 40 shots in 90 minutes for Durant, who has won the last three scoring titles.
The Thunder had no formal practice Saturday and took a 2:45 p.m. charter flight to Phoenix. … All 26 eligible players (13 from each team) played Friday night and Phoenix starting forward P.J. Tucker was the only one who did not score. … OKC outscored the Suns 30-12 in fast-break points, 62-42 in points in the paint and 18-11 in second-chance points. … Durant (.903) and Kevin Martin (.902) now rank 2-3 in free-throw percentage behind Golden State's Stephen Curry (.907).
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins on him (plus Durant and Russell Westbrook) not playing in the fourth quarter all last week: “That's good, though. That means we're handling our business.”