Russell Westbrook shows his maturity in OKC Thunder's loss to Memphis Grizzlies
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY •
Published: October 8, 2009
/articleid/3407253/1/pictures/721593"> Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, center, gets a pass off under pressure from Grizzlies defenders Michael Conley, left, and Zach Randolph during the second half Wednesday. AP Photo
I just want him to be able to pick his spots, because that’s what the great point guards in this league do...Because of his athletic ability, he could be one of the best at doing this in the league.”
Westbrook hounded speedy Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley into a 1-for-7 shooting night. Conley finished with eight points, five assists and three turnovers.
"I think I did a good job,” Westbrook said. "I was just trying to get everybody going, get everybody some touches and play off them. And we did a good job of that. It’s good to just get me back in the flow, get some jitters out and get prepared for the regular season.”
Westbrook’s work came undone the moment he checked out for good with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter. The Thunder held a 70-63 lead and a four-point advantage going into the final period. But the combination of seven turnovers in the final period and Grizzlies rookie Sam Young’s 15-point explosion en route to his game-high 22 proved too much.
Before that point, the Thunder didn’t show much rust in their debut. The ball moved on offense and players talked, helped and rotated with purpose defensively.
The one glaring problem was rebounding. Memphis out-rebounded Oklahoma City 40-30, grabbing 11 on the offensive end. Four Grizzlies players had seven rebounds. No Thunder player had more than D.J. White’s five off the bench.
"We are a team that has to have all five guys rebound,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "And we definitely will put some focus on that...But we did some good things.”