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Russell Westbrook sharp in season debut, but Thunder lose to Kings

Returning from mid-September knee surgery with no obvious signs of rust, Russell Westbrook’s season debut couldn’t have gone much better. Except for the losing part, which was striking not only in which team it happened against but also in how it happened.

Westbrook finished with 32 points on 13-of-23 shooting, plus 12 rebounds and eight assists, but the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Sacramento Kings 131-120 Sunday, dropping to 0-3.

“It was OK. Wasn’t my best night,” Westbrook said of how he felt. “But I’ve got I don’t know how many games left to play. Not worried. It was my first time. I just hate losing, honestly. I don’t really care to talk about how I played.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Westbrook came out of the gates looking very much like himself, ripping down a defensive rebound in the first few seconds and setting up Paul George for an open 3 shortly after. Westbrook dove on the floor — and into the seats — for loose balls and played with his trademark energy and intensity.5

“Almost notched a triple-double. I’d say that’s pretty Russ to me,” said George, who finished with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting. “He looked comfortable, he looked midseason form, and he just looked good energy-wise. He was able to play both ends, run the floor and manipulate the game.”

Westbrook underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Sept. 12. In the past week, he ramped up the intensity of his workouts and started contact practice and drills. He went through a workout Sunday before the game and, in tandem with the medical staff, made the decision to play.

“I never take this game for granted, always blessed and very thankful to the man above for allowing me to go out and play,” Westbrook said. “That’s my main thing — always going out and giving everything I have.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

This is the first time the Thunder have started 0-3 in the Oklahoma City era. Two of the games were without Westbrook, but with him back Sunday — against the Kings — there was an expectation that the Thunder would get back on track. But with some glaring defensive breakdowns, woeful shooting from deep (9-of-39 from 3) and hot shooting by the Kings, the Thunder find themselves in an awkward place one week into the season.

“If we could snap our fingers and change it right away, it’ll happen,” George said of the Thunder’s early struggles. “It just comes down to us grinding and scratching and taking these losses and trying to get better. Take [these] practice days and try to get better. That’s it.”