Russell Westbrook Dominates in Return and Other Friday NBA Takeaways

The Oklahoma City Thunder recorded the most points they’ve scored since Nov. 12 in Friday night’s 105-78 win over the New York Knicks.

While OKC’s defense clamped down on a lineup missing superstar Carmelo Anthony to back spasms, the offense got a jolt from a familiar friend. Three-time All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook returned from a fractured right hand he suffered in just his second game of the season, and he quickly proved there was no lasting impact.

The 26-year-old tallied an impressive 32 points, eights assists and seven rebounds while converting on 12 of his 17 field-goal attempts.

And he did it all in 24 minutes, a historically efficient rate of production.

The seventh-year veteran won’t officially be subjected to a minutes restriction, but his services weren’t in especially high demand after the Thunder raced out to a 59-33 halftime lead with help from 20 of Westbrook’s points. It’s fortunate that head coach Scott Brooks could ease him back into action in his first appearance since Oct. 30, but all indications are that Westbrook is just fine.

“It feels great [to be back],” he told reporters before the game. “I feel great. Rested. So I’m happy to be back and ready to go out and try to win.”

Since the broken hand didn’t keep him off his feet, staying on the floor shouldn’t be a problem.

“I’ve been able to run around, run and jump to keep my legs conditioned to be able to play throughout a game,” Westbrook added. “So hopefully I’m conditioned enough to be able to go through a game.”

The bigger question was whether his shot would be rusty. 

The answer came via a 3-of-4 performance from three-point range. 

Westbrook’s rapid return to form couldn’t come at a better time for the 5-12 Thunder. This club won’t be back to full strength until reigning MVP Kevin Durant returns from a foot fracture (likely sometime in December), but his sidekick appears to have stopped the bleeding for the time being.

“The great ones make their teammates better,” Brooks told reporters after the game.

Though often characterized as a shoot-first floor general, it’s become increasingly hard to deny Westbrook’s willingness to distribute the ball. It’s even harder to dismiss the extent to which his energy and focus can become contagious.

“Russell has a great passion for the game, and he’s been a tremendous leader for us,” Brooks told media before Friday’s contest. “He understands what he brings to the team. He brings a toughness, an emotional part that it takes for our team to be successful. And he’s obviously one of the best players in the league, so we’re all excited to have him back.”

Given the possibility that it will take 50 wins to qualify for the playoffs out West, the Thunder could ill-afford many more games without both of their superstars. Though Reggie Jackson has filled in admirably during Westbrook’s absence, OKC has been desperately short on firepower.


More news from around the league on its way shortly. 

Listen to Shady XV on Xbox Music and watch The Giver on Xbox Video

There’s so much good stuff on Xbox Music and Xbox Video. How do you keep up with what’s new and worth checking out? You don’t have to; we’ll do that for you. Every Friday we’ll grab the hottest albums and singles on Xbox Music. We’ll also let you know what movies and television shows are out to watch on Xbox Video. It’s the weekend, and we’ll help entertain you.

N.J. Father Allegedly Left Children Alone To Go To Outlet Mall On Black Friday

CENTRAL VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey father has been charged with endangering the welfare of children for allegedly leaving his young children alone to go to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets early Friday.

Investigators say Toru Sakaguchi, of Princeton, left his children at a Hampton Inn in Central Valley.

The hotel called police after a 4-year-old boy was found crying in the hallway, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.

The hotel called Sakaguchi via the number they had given the front desk around 4:30 a.m.

When police arrived and went to the child’s room, they say they found an 11-year-old girl who was handicapped and unable to open the door for her brother.

When the parents returned returned, police said Sakaguchi said it was all a misunderstanding.

“He tried to excuse it by saying, ‘My intention was to come right away, right back,’” Chief Richard Vasquez said.

But Vasquez said they had been left alone about an hour and a half.

“HIs explanation was that his wife was shopping and he was going to pick her up.  He said his wife made him wait for more than an hour and it took him longer than he thought,” Vasquez said.

Following the incident, Young reported the family checked out of the hotel and went back to the shopping center.

“I guess they figured they were down here, but they had the kids with them this time,” Vasquez said.

The father was given a desk appearance ticket and a court return date of December 10th at which time he’ll have to appear before a judge.

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