Russell Westbrook entered Sunday’s game against Orlando coming off a season-high 33 points at Houston. His point total was one shy of his career high and his 25 shot attempts were 13 more than his average through the first four games. Westbrook’s priority had previously been to set up his teammates and control the pace of the game. But Westbrook’s aggressiveness at Houston signaled the balancing act the second-year point guard is trying to master between looking for his own offense and getting others involved. "He has to continue to work on that,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It’s a fine line, but it’s an important line for him to push at all times. He has to attack. We don’t want him to be a passive point guard.”
DEFENDING DWIGHT HOWARDThe Thunder fared much better against Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard on Sunday at the Ford Center than it did last season when he recorded 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in the Magic’s 109-92 win on Nov. 12. Howard scored 20 points with seven rebounds and didn’t have a blocked shot in 32 minutes. The Thunder defended Howard with Nenad Krstic and Etan Thomas but made sure throw another defender at him when he caught it deep in the post. Howard attempted 17 free throws but made just 10. Brooks said he didn’t have to watch last year’s film to prepare for this year’s match up. "It’s in my memory bank forever,” Brooks said, only half jokingly.
THUNDER PROTECTING AGAINST VIRUSWith widespread illness sweeping the country, Thunder players and coaches recently were offered a vaccine for the H1N1 virus by Integris Health. A spokesman for the Thunder said the organization made sure the hospital had enough of the vaccine for everyday people before accepting the medication. "That’s part of living,” Brooks said of potential illness. "It’s something you can’t prepare for. You just continue to try to live good and clean and wash your hands multiple times a day.”
BRIEFLYKrstic dislocated his left pinkie late in the first quarter and was briefly taken into the locker room. He returned in the second quarter with his pinkie taped to his ring finger. He finished with 14 points in 20 minutes...Westbrook had 10 assists Sunday. The Thunder is now 3-0 when Westbrook has 10 assists or more...The Thunder’s 28-point victory Sunday was its largest in Ford Center history. The previous largest margin of victory was a 19-point win on April 10th against Charlotte.