Westbrook Returns In Thunder Win
OKLAHOMA CITY – After a six-month layoff, Russell Westbrook looked loads like his previous self.
The All-Star level guard had 21 points and 7 assists as the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, regardless of capturing 2 of 18 from 3-level range, beat the Phoenix Suns 103-96 on Sunday evening.
Kevin Durant had 33 factors and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who won their fifth straight residence opener and defeated Phoenix (2-1) for the eleventh straight time. The Suns final beat Oklahoma Metropolis (2-1) in December 2010.
Westbrook, sidelined after first tearing the lateral meniscus in his right knee in the course of the second sport of the NBA playoffs, then having a medical setback, returned three to 5 weeks ahead of the staff’s previously introduced timetable. He stated before the sport he by no means thought it will take him that lengthy to return back.
After the game he stated he felt slightly rusty however seemed glad with his effort.
“I simply missed some simple ones however that can come,” Westbrook stated. “I will do what I need. I could possibly be higher but that is all right. That is anticipated. I am not anticipated to come back back and be bionic man. I’m just going to work my manner through it.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks came away impressed with Westbrook’s outing.
“There are two things that (Westbrook) does at a high level,” Brooks stated. “He wins. He’s a winner. The guy performs the sport like it’s purported to be performed. It’s not all the time going to be good however he performs with all the pieces he has each single evening. To me that is inspiring. The second thing is leadership. It is taken him a while to get that Now he is our leader.”
Brooks wasn’t as glowing in regards to the team’s capturing.
“Clearly, we have got to shoot the ball a lot better,” he said. “We won’t proceed to shoot that from the 3-point line. I do not like to speak about it much but it’s exhausting to cover 2 for 18. However I will say this – I believe within the guys taking shots. They’re getting attractiveness. They are going to fall.”
Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Pictures
Russell Westbrook returned weeks forward of schedule and scored 21 factors in OKC’s residence opener.
Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points – one off his profession high – and added a profession-finest 14 assists for Phoenix, which opened the season with home wins over Portland and Utah. The Suns stayed with Oklahoma Metropolis due to 14-of-37 3-level capturing but finally have been carried out in by 23 turnovers.
Serge Ibaka added 9 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City.
Phoenix led seventy nine-73 after a three-pointer by Bledsoe with 7:46 left, but the Thunder scored next eight factors, including layups by Westbrook and Reggie Jackson, the latter putting Oklahoma Metropolis forward 81-seventy nine with 6:11 left.
Channing Frye’s basket tied the sport for Phoenix, but the Thunder went on a 14-6 run, highlighted by three-point plays from Ibaka and Derek Fisher, to take a ninety five-87 lead with 2:19 left.
The Suns pulled within 95-92 before Durant slammed home a missed layup by Westbrook with 32.8 seconds left. Gerald Green hit a three-pointer from the corner to cap a 21-point performance, however Westbrook and Durant mixed to go 6-of-6 from the free throw line over the ultimate 29.3 seconds to seal the win.
“Our guys fought hard and that’s an excellent workforce and we had a chance to win on their court, so I’m pretty happy with the hassle,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said.
“That’s the last word aim, when you go on the road, is to have an opportunity at the end, particularly a workforce like this. It’s very difficult to win on this health club. We have been proper there and had some possibilities.”
Westbrook’s motion was his first since April, when Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley banged knees with him whereas going for a steal after Westbrook had stopped to name a timeout.
Westbrook underwent an initial surgical procedure for the damage on April 27. He underwent another surgery on Oct. 1 to remove a unfastened sew from the first process. At the time, the Thunder mentioned he would miss the primary 4 to 6 weeks of the regular season. Beneath that timetable, Westbrook could have been out for as many as 22 games.
As an alternative, he missed only two video games – a win at Utah on Wednesday and a loss at Minnesota on Friday.
Often the primary participant introduced throughout pre-game introductions, Westbrook as a substitute was the final and he drew an infinite roar from the sellout crowd at Chesapeake Power Arena. A team spokesman stated after the game that Durant – who normally is launched last – requested that Westbrook be introduced last instead, though Durant declined to take credit for the thought when requested about it.
“It was good for him to be again,” Durant said. “I know how a lot he loves the game. The group was nice. Unbelievable. Classy group of fans. Always behind (Westbrook) and accepted him so nicely tonight. It was cool to see.”
Westbrook instantly returned to his aggressive self on the courtroom, scoring his first basket at the 7:sixteen mark of the first quarter on a driving layup.
It quickly grew to become obvious, however, that the Thunder must readjust to having Westbrook within the lineup. Oklahoma City struggled with its taking pictures in the first half, going sixteen of 40 (forty %) and permitting the Suns to guide forty five-44 at halftime.
Frye scored 19 points and Goran Drajic had 10 for the Suns on 5-of-9 capturing earlier than leaving the sport with a sprained left ankle at the 10:08 mark of the third quarter.
Hornacek said the ankle Drajic injured is one “that’s been bothering him before so hopefully he is not out too lengthy.” He didn’t say if Drajic would possibly miss any video games Despite the closeness of the game, Brooks played 11 of the 13 players who suited up and all for at least eight:47. It was evident that rookie
is now the backup center, having supplanted
, one of the two gamers who didn’t see action The sellout was the 89th straight throughout the regular season at Chesapeake Vitality Enviornment.