Westbrooks Returns; Late Thunder Rally Sets Suns
Russell Westbrook had 21 points and 7 assists in his first game since last year’s NBA Playoffs, and Kevin Durant led the way with 33 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder won their home opener Sunday night at Chesapeake Arena 103-96 over the Phoenix Suns.
The Thunder trailed most of the game, but went on a 22-8 run in the fourth quarter to turn a six-point deficit into an eight-point lead, and OKC never trailed again.
Westbrook made his season debut much earlier than anticipated.
He was expected to miss the first four to six weeks of the regular season after undergoing a second off-season knee surgery in October to repair a loose stitch from his original surgery for a torn meniscus suffered last April.
Sunday afternoon the Thunder issued a statement saying Westbrook had progressed quickly through his rehabilitation and was ready for game action.
Westbrook didn’t show any noticeable ill effects from the layoff, aggressively attacking the basket as usual and dishing to open teammates for jumpers and layups.
Durant had a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds, and accounted for the Thunder’s only two made 3-pointers on the night.
OKC was just 2 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Reggie Jackson was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 10 points.
Serge Ibaka added nine points and 10 rebounds.
Phoenix was hot from three-point range, making 14 3’s.
The Suns were led by Eric Bledsoe’s 26 points and 14 assists, while former OSU signee Gerald Green added 21 points, with five made 3-pointers, and eight rebounds.
The Thunder hit 31 of 37 free throws, and forced 25 Sun turnovers.
The win was OKC’s 11th in a row over Phoenix, who had won their first two games of the season.
The Thunder improve to 2-1 on the season, and continue their two-game homestand on Wednesday night against Dallas in an 8:30 tipoff at Chesapeake Arena.