The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

November 3, 2013

Thunder beat Suns in Westbrook's return

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Russell Westbrook had 21 points and seven assists in his return from a knee injury and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a ragged performance to beat the Phoenix Suns 103-96 on Sunday night.

Serge Ibaka added nine points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City (2-1), which won its fifth straight home opener and defeated Phoenix (2-1) for the 11th straight time. The Suns last beat Oklahoma City in December 2010.

Westbrook, sidelined for six months after first tearing the lateral meniscus in his right knee during the second game of the NBA playoffs, then having a medical setback, returned three to five weeks ahead of the team's previously announced timetable.

Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points and added a career-best 14 assists for Phoenix, which opened the season with home wins over Portland and Utah. The Suns stayed with Oklahoma City thanks to 14-of-37 3-point shooting, compared to 2 of 18 for the Thunder.

Phoenix led 79-73 after a 3-pointer by Bledsoe with 7:46 left, but the Thunder scored next eight points, including layups by Westbrook and Reggie Jackson, the latter putting Oklahoma City ahead 81-79 with 6:11 left.

Channing Frye's basket tied the game for Phoenix, but the Thunder went on a 14-6 run, highlighted by three-point plays from Ibaka and Derek Fisher, to take a 95-87 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 3-pointer from the corner to cap a 21-point performance, but Westbrook and Durant went 6-of-6 from the free throw line over the final 29.3 seconds to seal the win.

Westbrook didn't appear too rusty in his first game action since April, when Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley banged knees with him while going for a steal after Westbrook had stopped to call a timeout.

Westbrook underwent an initial surgery for the injury on April 27. He underwent another surgery on Oct. 1 to remove a loose stitch from the first procedure. At the time, the Thunder said he would miss the first four to six weeks of the regular season. Under that timetable, Westbrook could have been out for as many as 22 games.

Instead, he missed only two games — a win at Utah on Wednesday and a loss at Minnesota on Friday. Westbrook said before the game that he never expected to be out four to six weeks.

Usually the first player announced during pre-game introductions, Westbrook instead was the last and he drew an enormous roar from the sellout crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena. He immediately returned to his aggressive self on the court, scoring his first basket at the 7:16 mark of the first quarter on a driving layup.

It quickly became apparent, however, that the Thunder will have to readjust to having Westbrook in the lineup. Oklahoma City struggled with its shooting in the first half, going 16 of 40 (40 percent) and allowing the Suns to lead 45-44 at halftime despite a ragtag performance that included 13 turnovers.

Frye scored 19 points and Goran Drajic had 10 for the Suns on 5-of-9 shooting before leaving the game with a sprained left ankle less than 2 minutes into the third quarter.

The Thunder shot 42.7 percent from the field (35 of 82) but went 31 of 37 from the free throw line (83.8 percent).

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • celebration picture.jpeg DBAT Gallegos headed to Connie Mack World Series

    DBAT Gallegos, who has been battling adversity all season (lost five players through injuries) took advantage of their opportunities in beating Metroplex rival Dallas Mustangs, 3-0 Sunday in the finals of the Connie South Plains Regional.
    The victory put the DBAT (34-7) into the Connie Mack World Series, which begins Friday at Farmington, N.M.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meadowlake retains Enid Ryder Cup

    Jay Betchan might have a statement a week before he tries to defend his Wheat Capital championship next week.
    Betchan completed a perfect 3-0 record for Meadowlake with a 6-and-4 win over John Petersen as the Municipal Course took the Enid Ryder Cup for the fourth straight year, 131⁄2-101⁄2 overall.
    The two teams split six singles matches Sunday at Oakwood in the final day of the three-day competition.

    July 27, 2014

  • Bruce Campbell mug use me Allie Reynolds belongs in Hall of Fame

    It was with a twinge of sadness watching the Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday, knowing Oklahoma’s Allie Reynolds still is not in the Hall of Fame and there’s a good chance he won’t be in.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DezPhoto.jpeg Bryant showing maurity as leader of Dallas receivers

    Dez Bryant is going into the final season of his rookie contract with the potential of a big pay day looming. And his answers on that topic sound more like a leader than the troubled rookie who didn’t pay his jewelry bills four years ago.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Photo.jeg Hall ceremony emotion for six inductees

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.
    Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats.
    Thomas, pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, and managers Bobby Cox, Torre and La Russa were inducted into the baseball shrine Sunday, and all paid special tribute to their families before an adoring crowd of nearly 50,000.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gordon nails restart to win Brickyard 400

     With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago.
    Gordon nailed the final restart of the race — no given because restarts have been Gordon’s Achilles heel — to pass Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne with 17 laps remaining at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-28-14

    July 27, 2014

  • LeBron to wear No. 23 with Cavs

    July 27, 2014

  • Edwards leaving Roush team

    July 27, 2014

  • Nibali wins Tour de France

    July 27, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.