The Oklahoma City Thunder (17-8) welcomed the L.A. Clippers (17-10) to the Paycom Center on Thursday, December 21st. As the Clippers are on a nine-game winning streak, and on the second night of a back-to-back, they were a bit short-handed.
Kawhi Leonard missed his first game of the season on Thursday in Oklahoma City as he rested to nurse a left hip contusion. Paul George, who missed Wednesday's clash with the Mavericks, was back in the lineup against the Thunder after battling an illness.
George marked the third former member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Clippers lineup today. Joining former league MVP Russell Westbrook and former sixth man of the year James Harden. The trio has put together Hall of Fame careers, respectively, each making critical stops in Oklahoma City along the way.
WATCH: OKC Thunder fans give Russell Westbrook a standing ovation as he checks into Thursday's Thunder vs Clippers contest.
On Thursday, Russell Westbrook returned to the Paycom Center, where he has made so many memories, this time as a visitor, and off the bench.
The second the Paycom Center faithful got a glimpse of Russell Westbrook, they erupted into the loudest ovation of the season to this point. After a review for a potential clear path foul, the officials allowed Westbrook to check into the game, where he again was showered with praise.
Understanding the moment, Russell Westbrook raised a hand in the air to acknowledge a fanbase he used to own. A franchise that used to be his, that you can, without a shadow of a doubt, say he put on the map.
Russell Westbrook played in 821 games for the OKC Thunder, averaging 23 points, dishing out eight assists, hauling in seven rebounds, and picking up nearly two steals per tilt in his time with the Bricktown boys.
Westbrook served as a catalyst for the Thunder, who, in his time, made countless Western Conference Finals trips, including a trip to the NBA Finals during the 2011-12 season.
Now, the Oklahoma City Thunder look to recapture some of that success and hope to get over the hump with this current core headlined by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.