In his first game back in Oklahoma City as a Houston Rocket, it was clear that love between Russell Westbrook and the Thunder still remained.
Last night, Russell Westbrook played his first game in Oklahoma City as a member of the Thunder’s opposition. Westbrook and the Thunder parted ways this summer after 11 years together when he was traded to the Houston Rockets. It was as amicable a parting such as this could be as Westbrook did not want to go through a rebuild while the Thunder wanted to make longer-term plans that Westbrook did not necessarily fit into.
So when Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City for the first time, there was little question of how he would be received by Thunder fans. It was the complete opposite of how Kevin Durant was welcomed back when he came back as a member of the Warriors as seemingly everyone in the Chesapeake Energy Arena stood cheering for Westbrook and the organization even honored him with a tribute video.
The video captures much of what made Westbrook so special and beloved during his time with the Thunder. There’s the everpresent passion, the thunderous dunks, the engagement with the community, and the over-the-top fashion sense. They even include a few of his characteristic scoffs aimed towards reporters. Anyone who has watched the Thunder play over the last decade will find the video full of fond memories worth remembering and cherishing.
The game itself ended well for the hometown team as the Thunder put in a dominating performance, defeating the Rockets by 21 in a game that was never close. Westbrook himself did play well, though, putting up 34 points as Houston’s leading scorer, on a night James Harden was held to just 17 points.
The Rockets are now tied for fourth place in the West with the Utah Jazz while the Thunder sit at seventh by themselves. The next time the Rockets and Thunder meet will be on January 20 in Houston.