RUSSELL WESTBROOK SEEING REDUCED MINUTES
When he returned earlier than expected from offseason knee surgery, Russell Westbrook was said to be free from any restrictions on his playing time. But through his first four games, Westbrook has yet to play more than 33 minutes.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks on Monday, however, called it a coincidence.
“Reggie (Jackson) has been playing good minutes,” Brooks said. “We're just trying to spread it out a little bit. But he's not on a minute restriction at all. It's by happenstance.”
In his first two games, Westbrook played 32 minutes, 45 seconds. In his fourth outing, Westbrook played only 30 minutes. And against Washington on Sunday, Westbrook again played 30 minutes. Had he not gotten ejected with three minutes remaining, and had the game not gone into overtime, Westbrook would have again finished with 33 minutes.
In each of the previous two seasons, Westbrook averaged almost exactly 35 minutes. His minute average last season was lower in large part because the Thunder's league-best 9.2-point margin of victory allowed Westbrook and the rest of the starters to sit out several games in the fourth quarter.
ROUGH NIGHT FOR THE ROOKIE
Two nights after assembling the best performance of his short career, Steven Adams on Sunday experienced his worst.
The rookie center scored one point, missed all three of his shot attempts, grabbed two rebounds, blocked two shots and committed two fouls and one turnover in 20 minutes.
On Friday at Detroit, Adams amazed with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in 31 minutes. He made seven of 10 shots in that contest.
“Statistically, he didn't play well,” Brooks said. “But he did a lot of things for us (Sunday).”
JEREMY LAMB LIMITED TO 16 MINUTES?
Second-year shooting guard Jeremy Lamb is averaging 18.5 minutes through six games.
According to Brooks, that's about 2.5 minutes more on average than the Thunder coach is comfortable with.
“His minutes, I think, are right at the level I like him at,” Brooks said. “Fifteen to 16. (Sunday) he played 20. But those are minutes that he's earned in practice.”
Lamb is off to a good start this season, averaging 9.8 points while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.
Washington guard John Wall following the Thunder's comeback win over the Wizards — “You never feel like it's over when you got a guy named Kevin Durant on the other side. We knew we were playing great defense, but he's known for making tough shots. Look at the shot he made just before overtime. He made a tough shot with Trevor (Ariza) right in his face.”
Kendrick Perkins' grandfather, Raymond Lewis, died Monday. Perkins was raised by his grandparents in Beaumont, Texas, and called his grandfather his best friend and “the man who taught me how to be a man.” It's unclear whether Perkins will miss any time to be with his family. … Thunder forward Nick Collison is still day-to-day after missing Sunday's game with a left hip contusion.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY