Preview: Celtics at Thunder
Star point guard Russell Westbrook looked pretty solid in his season debut but there wasn’t a victory attached to the performance. Westbrook looks to get the Oklahoma City Thunder into the win column for the first time this season when they host the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
Westbrook had 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes in Sunday’s 131-120 loss to the Sacramento Kings in his first game since undergoing knee surgery on Sept. 12. “I thought Russell really played well,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan told reporters. “I give him a lot of credit. He worked really hard the last five to six weeks to try to get himself ready. For him to come back, being out as long as he was and play like he did – I thought we were faster, I thought we got downhill more, I thought the ball was moving.” The Celtics are beginning a stretch in which seven of nine games are on the road, and they also look to rebound from a disappointing 93-90 home loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday. “I thought we tried to move the ball and get better looks,” Boston small forward Gordon Hayward told reporters. “We’ve gotta be able to get to the line a little bit better, get some stuff at the rim. But they were giving us the 3-ball and we just didn’t have it.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Oklahoma
ABOUT THE CELTICS (2-2): Boston recorded a season low in points against Orlando, but coach Brad Stevens praised the ball movement – odd with the team hoisting up 40 3-pointers and making just nine. But point guard Kyrie Irving wasn’t dismayed over the low production in a game in which he shot well (22 points on 10-of-19 shooting). “Everyone can get a basket anytime they want,” Irving told reporters. “Anybody can go get it. But if we do the little things and we commit to that, think of how special we could be.”
ABOUT THE THUNDER (0-3): Westbrook said his right knee held up in his season debut but his mood was certainly testy after the double-digit home loss to the Kings. “I was OK,” Westbrook told reporters. “It wasn’t my best night, but I’ve got however many more games left to play, so I’m not worried. It was my first time. I just hate losing. Honestly, I don’t really care to talk about how I played.” Small forward Paul George scored 29 points against Sacramento and is averaging 25.3 points.
1. The Celtics won both of last season’s meetings after the Thunder won 10 of the previous 12 matchups.
2. Boston C Aron Baynes (hamstring) is listed as questionable and could miss his second straight game.
3. Oklahoma City G Alex Abrines (eye) is questionable after being injured against the Kings.