Over the past week, Russell Westbrook has started cranking up his workout activity.
At shootaround in Orlando on Friday, Westbrook was seen taking some full-speed pull-up shots and doing some on-court cutting, working up a sweat. And before the Thunder's Sunday win over the Knicks, he was doing much of the same.
But Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said Westbrook still hasn't been cleared for full contact.
“He hasn't participated in any part of our practices,” Brooks said.
Westbrook's return, according to the team, still remains at least 10 days away, with the first game after the All-Star break set for Feb. 20 against Miami.
“I don't know what date,” Brooks said. “Sometime after the All-Star break. We like the progress he is making.”
The Thunder is 20-8 without Westbrook this season.
KD ON ALL-STAR WEEKEND
If it were up to Kevin Durant, at this stage of his career, he would use All-Star Saturday night as a time for relaxation.
“The events are cool, but I'd rather play in the game and chill the whole weekend,” Durant said.
But Durant, who has competed twice before in the Three-Point Shootout, has agreed to take part in the Shooting Skills challenge, a quick and friendly competition at the beginning of the night. He will team up with NBA legend Karl Malone and WNBA star Skylar Diggins.
“That event is something I haven't done before,” Durant said. “It'll be cool, only take a couple minutes anyway.”
WOODSON FIRING TALK
The dysfunctional Knicks descended upon Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon, and they brought a coaching controversy with them.
Recent reports out of New York say that Mike Woodson is expecting to be fired after the All-Star break.
Woodson denied that pregame, but did admit the lingering rumors and his unknown status might affect his team.
“They know it's dangling,” Woodson said of his team. “My theme to our players is Woodson is a big boy. He's been around the block a few times. It's a part of the business, if it happens. It's not about me, it's never been about me.”
STAT OF THE GAME
Durant has compiled at least 25 points and at least four assists in 18 straight games. That's the longest streak in the NBA the past 40 years, per Elias.
At 41-12, the Thunder has stretched its lead in the Western Conference to three games over the Spurs and four games over the Blazers
The Thunder heads out on the road to complete the first half, with a 9 p.m. game in Portland on Tuesday and 9:30 p.m. game Thursday at Los Angeles (Lakers) before next weekend's All-Star break.