For the third straight year, Thunder forward Kevin Durant has been voted a Western Conference starter for the NBA All-Star Game.
This will be the fourth All-Star appearance for the 24-year-old Durant, who was picked MVP of last year's game in Orlando.
Durant led all West frontcourt players with 1,504,047 votes and will start alongside guard Kobe Bryant and center Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, plus point guard Chris Paul and former OU standout Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Eastern Conference starters will be forward LeBron James and guard Dwyane Wade of Miami, center Kevin Garnett and point guard Rajon Rondo of Boston and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
Fan balloting ended last Saturday. Reserves for both conferences will be voted upon by coaches and announced next week, at which time it is expected Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will receive his third straight invitation.
The 62nd All-Star Game will be held Feb. 17 at Toyota Center in Houston at 7 p.m.
MARTIN ROAD WOES
Sixth man Kevin Martin has shot significantly better at home than on the road, which isn't good news with a six-game road trip awaiting the Thunder.
Martin is averaging 16.9 points at Chesapeake Energy Arena and 12.5 point everywhere else this season.
He is shooting 48.1 percent from the field, 50.5 percent on 3-pointers and 92.5 percent at the free-throw line at home. On the road, those stats are 38.3 percent from the field, 33.3 percent on 3-pointers and 89.1 percent at the line. All stats other than shooting are almost identical home and away.
Martin scored 20 points in 19 minutes and shot 7 for 12 from the floor in Wednesday night's 117-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets at The Peake.
Denver coach George Karl was asked before the game if he thought OKC was still making the transition from James Harden to Martin.
“Kevin has played well for them, but I don't think he's played as well as he could play and probably will play,” Karl said. “Kevin can have those huge nights and I haven't seen many of those nights. He and (Serge) Ibaka right now personality wise are kind of searching for those shots. We're definitely talking about Martin a lot in our preparation. We don't want him to have a game where he gets four or five 3s, gets loose in transition and gets to the free-throw line a lot.”
In the second half of Monday night's 102-90 victory at Phoenix, Durant and Westbrook combined to score 47 of the Thunder's 51 second-half points.
In the first quarter of Wednesday night's victory over Denver, Westbrook and Durant scored 24 of OKC's initial 26 points of the game, bringing the duo's combined total to 71 of 77 points over a span of 34 minutes, 47 seconds.
In Thursday's paper it was erroneously reported Steve Nash (four times), Larry Bird (twice), Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki and Enid's Mark Price were the only players to shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line in the same season.
Toronto point guard Jose Calderon achieved a 50-40-90 in 2007-08 and barely missed repeating the following season when he shot 49.7 percent from the field.
The Thunder leads the NBA in points (105.4), free-throw percentage (. 836), 3-point percentage (. 392) and point differential (9.4) and is third in field-goal percentage (. 479). … OKC is 14-0 when five players score in double-digits and 14-0 when it shoots 50 percent or better. … The Thunder has shot less than 80 percent from the free-throw line the last four games, but still went unbeaten. … OKC has won more games on Friday than any other day (8-1). … The Thunder is 19-3 against Western Conference teams. … OKC is 8-7 against Dallas all-time. … The Thunder is 12-5 (. 706) away from home, tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the NBA's best road record.
Durant on defending Westbrook when his midrange jumper is falling: “What can you do? He's shooting the jump shot and if you pressure him he can go to the rim. So it's like a nightmare when he's making that jump shot.”