MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook last stepped inside FedExForum, it was the worst game of his NBA career.
He shot 0 for 13 from the field, scored four points and got into verbal combat with teammates on the court and near the bench.
In his return engagement Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, Westbrook made 12 more shots and scored 26 more points in a 100-95 victory.
Westbrook also went the opposite direction when it came to verbalizing with teammates. He apparently gave them the silent treatment during the team's morning shootaround.
“He told me earlier today not to talk to him when we got to the gym,” Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said. “He wasn't talking to nobody because he said he had his mind focused on his game.”
The tactic certainly worked. Perhaps Westbrook won't say a word at any future shootaround sessions this season.
Perkins smiled and chuckled at the thought. “Right,” Perkins said. “That's straight up.”
Westbrook sizzled from the start. In the first quarter, he went from going 0-fer against Memphis to being flawless, shooting 4 for 4 from the field and 4 for 4 from the free-throw line for 12 points and zero turnovers.
“I just tried to come out and be aggressive,” Westbrook said afterward. “Last time I was here, I couldn't buy a basket and we still came out with a victory.”
OKC won that previous meeting against the Grizzlies, 98-95 on Dec. 28.
By halftime on Tuesday, Westbrook had 18 points, was 7 for 8 from the field and also had three rebounds, two assists and still zero turnovers.
Westbrook dipped in the third quarter, shooting 3 for 8 and committing his only two turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Westbrook inexplicably went 2 for 6 from the free-throw line, but hit a clutch 19-footer with 2:22 left to put the Thunder up 93-87 and partially blocked a Mike Conley layup with 21.
Thunder Rumblings Blog: Tidbits from courtside