When Kevin Durant was interviewed by Grantland’s Bill Simmons over the All-Star Weekend, he confirmed that Russell Westbrook was returning to the starting lineup for the Miami Heat game tomorrow night.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks had this to say about the status of Westbrook today:
Brooks on Westbrook: “He practiced today. It’s the first time he went through a practice in its entirety. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) February 19, 2014
Westbrook is now officially a game-time decision tomorrow night, but I think it is safe to say that he will be playing. This is just the official wording Brooks used.
The Thunder of course beat the Heat 112-95 in Miami back on Jan. 29. That was without Westbrook.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Thunder needing time to adjust with Westbrook back in the lineup. I don’t think there will be much of an adjustment for any player other than Westbrook.
When Russ played his first game of the season at home vs. the Phoenix Suns back on Nov. 3, he was definitely rusty and he will probably be a little bit rusty tomorrow night. But he knows his role on the team, he’ll likely have no problem getting the Thunder into its offense, he just might not be finishing at the rim as well as he normally can or knocking down his jump shot as consistently.
With the news coming out that Kendrick Perkins will also start tomorrow night, Westbrook’s presence is even more important for the Thunder. Miami knows very well how to defend what the Thunder do on offense so having Westbrook’s ability to create something out of nothing will be huge for OKC while their starters are out there.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. CST tomorrow night on TNT.