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OKC Thunder: A so-so debut for Westbrook

By Darnell Mayberry Published: October 9, 2008
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BILLINGS, Mont. — There were moments Wednesday night when Russell Westbrook looked every bit like a rookie point guard.

He followed those periods with plays that made him look deserving of the No. 4 overall selection.

Making his NBA debut in an 88-82 preseason loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Westbrook scored 13 points with three rebounds and three assists. He made five of nine shots in 20 minutes off the bench but, as is typical with rookies, struggled with decision making and finished with five turnovers, four of them in the first half.

"It was a good first game for a rookie,” said Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo. "It was a learning experience. We’ve got to get him more minutes Friday and Saturday.

"He’s going to make plays for us. The adjustment is going to be running the team, getting us into sets and reading when to go and attack and when is the time to let the offense happen and get other guys involved. But I thought the first steps today were very encouraging.”

A four-minute stretch in the second quarter summed up Westbrook’s night and provided a glimpse into what types of performances fans are likely to see out of the rookie this season.

With just under 11 minutes to play in the half, Westbrook turned the ball over on a sloppy pass. But he hustled back, rebounded a Rashard McCants missed layup and sprinted the other way to finish a three-on-two break with a pretty finger roll.

On the Thunder’s next possession, he fired up an ill-advised 20-footer in transition that fell short. Mike Sherman's blog NBA in OKC blog


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