Instead of being on the court with the Thunder, as he had in every game of the franchise's history before the injury, Westbrook watched from a suite.
When he was shown on the video board early in the game, Westbrook drew a wild round of applause. He even was wearing the T-shirt placed on every seat in the arena before the game.
The reception for Houston's Patrick Beverley was completely different.
It was Beverley's steal attempt as Westbrook tried to call timeout that led to the injury a week earlier.
Beverley was booed heavily during introductions and booed every time he touched the ball for the remainder of the game.
“I tried to not hear the boos,” Beverley said.
The boos exceeded those doled out last year by Thunder fans to Metta World Peace in the playoffs after the Lakers' star caught then-Thunder star Harden with an elbow in a late regular-season game.
The Thunder cut the deficit to as little as six in the final five minutes but kept fouling Houston's Omer Asik, and Asik hit enough free throws to keep the Rockets in control.
Asik was 11 of 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth and finished with 21 points.
“That's a strategy we don't use often,” Brooks said. “We used it last year against the Spurs.
“But he hit his shots, give him credit.”