There is a growing expectation that Russell Westbrook will rejoin the Thunder lineup for Thursday's game against Miami in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder did not practice Monday and is taking Tuesday off as well. But it is believed that Westbrook's availability will be determined by physical and medical evaluations that will be conducted Tuesday and Wednesday.
Team officials still aren't providing any additional information into when Westbrook will return, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks said whenever that day is an adjustment period is to be expected.
“There's going to be an adjustment period like there was last time,” Brooks said. “But that's our job is to adjust and find ways to have that adjustment goes smooth. But I think with Russell, he's going to have to play through some games. He's not going to be in game shape right off the get-go, and we understand that.
“We're not going to judge him off of each quarter or each game. We have 27 more games to go to get everything clicking in the right direction. It's a great challenge. But our guys are looking forward to adding one of the most dynamic players in the league back to our roster.”
GRIFFIN PUTS ON A SHOW AT THE ALL-STAR GAME
Blake Griffin electrified the crowd in Sunday's All-Star Game, scoring 38 points in the West All-Star's 163-155 loss to the East.
If anyone was disappointed in Saturday night's dunk contest, Griffin made things right with a dazzling display during the game.
He scored 14 of his first 18 points on dunk attempts, assaulting the rim with one authoritative alley-oop finish after another. Ten of his All-Star-Game record 19 made field goals were slam dunks.
“He's a guy who is perfect for a game like this,” said New York forward Carmelo Anthony. “He is a dunker. He's a guy who gets the crowd into it. Guys know he's a crowd pleaser so they're going to find him. Anything near the rim, near the backboard, he's going to get.”
Griffin enjoyed giving the crowd what it came to see.
“It's fun, man,” Griffin said. “This game is for the fans and to be able to do the things that they want to see. They don't really want to see me shooting jump shots, so it's cool to be able to get up and down and have fun with it.”
Asked if he has any fear of being boxed into a category of being solely a dunker, Griffin sarcastically replied, “Yeah, I'm terrified of that.”
“I don't care, man,” Griffin said after turning serious. “People are going to say whatever they're going to say. I just take the points as they come.”
A NICKNAME DURANT LIKES
In an appearance on “The BS Report with Bill Simmons,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant floated a nickname that he does like.
“You can call me ‘The Servant,'” Durant told Simmons. “I'm a servant. I just like to serve everybody. My teammates. Ushers at the game. Fans.”
Durant has denounced several suggestions for nicknames through the years, including but not limited to “Velvet Hoop,” “Kid Clutch,” “Iceberg Slim” and, most recently, “Slim Reaper.”
THAT WAS WEIRD
Following the All-Star Game, a reporter noted Durant tapping his fingers on the table atop the podium at the start of his postgame press conference and asked Durant if he had a background in piano or if New Orleans' musical culture had sunk in.
Durant didn't seem to mind the unusual query.
“I have no musical talents,” Durant said. “So I guess I just made myself look good with that. That's a great question, though. I always wanted to play the piano. So now that you said something, I might take up some lessons.”
KOBE THINKING 3-POINT CONTEST
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said over the weekend that he has interest in competing in next year's 3-point shootout.
“Yeah, I wouldn't mind being in one,” said Bryant, a career 33.5 percent 3-point shooter. “Marco (Belinelli) won with shooting five air balls. I might not win, but I won't shoot five air balls in the 3-point contests, I don't think. But we'll see.”