Thunder Star Russell Westbrook To Return From Injury Wednesday
In a rather amazingly quick return from a fracture cheekbone, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and MVP candidate Russell Westbrook likely will return to action on Wednesday night against Philadelphia. The Thunder will be big favorites when the line opens Wednesday morning at Sportsbook.ag.
Westbrook, who had surgery Saturday to repair a fracture to his right cheek suffered on Friday, participated for most of Tuesday’s practice with the team while wearing a clear protective mask — which he’ll also wear when he does return to action, coach Scott Brooks said.
Westbrook has been on a historic run, delivering three straight triple-doubles and averaging 31.2 points, 10.3 assists and 9.1 rebounds in the month of February. Westbrook has pushed himself into the MVP discussion and the Thunder (33-27) into the eighth seed of the Western Conference playoff race. He had a historic February, averaging 31.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists, numbers that only ever have been totaled by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
With 13 career triple-doubles (five this season), the Thunder had gone a perfect 11-0 when Westbrook recorded a triple-double prior to dropping the first two games of the just completed road trip. Additionally, Westbrook is now the first player since Michael Jordan (during the 1988-89 season) to record six straight games with 20+ points, 10+ assists and five+ rebounds.
No Durant This Week
Kevin Durant, meanwhile, is “progressing well” after having a minor procedure to help reduce pain and discomfort in his surgically repaired right foot. He did some light shooting with the team Tuesday and will be re-evaluated in a “week or so.”
Oklahoma City beat the L.A. Lakers 108-101 on Sunday without their two stars. Serge Ibaka had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and D.J. Augustin added 18 points, nine rebounds and five assist snap a two-game skid. Enes Kanter put up his third double-double as a member of the Thunder with 16 points and 15 rebounds to go with a career-high five assists.
The Thunder outscored the Lakers by eight transition points Sunday, outshooting L.A. by nearly 30 percentage points on such shots. OKC had six different players score in transition, including Dion Waiters, who had a game-high six transition points. That improved the Thunder to 5-10 this season without Westbrook. The Thunder’s five wins all came against teams in the bottom third of the league: the Lakers, Jazz, Celtics, Kings and Nuggets.
Entering tonight’s contest Oklahoma City has won 12 of its past 13 at Chesapeake Energy Arena (the only loss during this stretch occurred on Feb. 6 when Anthony Davis made a game-winning 3-point field goal as time expired in regulation).
Philly lost 114-103 at home to Toronto on Monday for its second straight loss and seventh in the past eight. The Sixers lost 103-91 at home to Oklahoma City on Dec. 5. Westbrook had 27 points but Durant only 10. Durant was in jeopardy of failing to reach double-figures in scoring for the first time since 2009 before making a layup with 2:41 remaining. Serge Ibaka scored 19 points and Jeremy Lamb added 15 for the Thunder, who won their 11th straight against Philadelphia. Over the past three meetings, Thunder are averaging 110.3 points on 52.9% shooting while Sixers are averaging 91.3 ppg on 36.6% FGs.
Key betting trends: 76ers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a double-digit loss at home. 76ers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss. 76ers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Western Conference. Thunder are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. Thunder are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games. Thunder are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record. Thunder are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
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