Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is averaging 27 PPG over his last four outings, and his Thunder beat up on a tough Bulls team last night in Chicago for a 97-85 win. Russ, still not playing the back end of back-to-backs, came close to a triple-double with 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in 28 minutes. Before the game, however, a reporter had the temerity to ask Russ about rust. But Westbrook settled down enough to extol Derrick Rose in his second consecutive year of rehab.
Before Russ got to the injured Derrick Rose, he was asked a rather innocuous question about getting back to his old self. Like he has in the past, Russ was a tad antagonistic to the reporter in question.
Asked before Monday’s game whether he was back to his old self, Westbrook, who is averaging 27 points his last four games, shot back: “You think I’m back to my old self now?”
A reporter, a bit flummoxed, stammered: “Well, you have a little rust.”
“Where?” demanded Westbrook.
He wasn’t as quick to anger when asked about his belief in his own full recovery…
“Just being confident,” Westbrook said about coming back from the injury. “You have to have confidence in yourself and health and knowing the rehab and all the work you put in has paid off. Obviously (rehabilitation) is a tough process. But it’s something I have to deal with and something that’s best for my health and for my future
“All I can worry about is what I’m doing now,” said Westbrook about limited playing time. “As for next year, I’ll worry about that when next year comes. I feel great (now). If I didn’t feel the same energy and strength in my legs, I wouldn’t play.”
On the surface it makes sense, but we feel for the poor fella that used rust when talking to Russ. Aside from his tiff with the reporter, it was Westbrook’s confidence at Rose’s return that should give Bulls fans a little bit of hope their MVP hasn’t gone the way of Penny Hardaway. Westbrook works out with D-Rose in the offseason, and spoke positively about his fellow point guard’s chances at a full recovery.
“Very confident,” Westbrook said when asked about Rose’s return. “I’ve talked to him numerous times. He’s a tough guy, as you guys know. He does a good job of coming out competing. It’s unfortunate he had to be hurt and out another year. But he’s going to come back the same D Rose he was before.
Westbrook added he doesn’t scrimmage in the summers and doesn’t think Rose needs to as well.
“We used to do one-on-one and two-on-two and things like that,” said Westbrook. “But not much scrimmaging. We get enough of that throughout the year, especially Derrick. Derrick plays a lot and has to do a lot for his team. I don’t think it’s much needed in the summertime.”
Kevin Durant was equally as confident about Rose’s return to the player that won the only MVP over the last five years that didn’t go to LeBron James:
“I’m very confident he’s going to come back. He works extremely hard and the medical staffs that we have in this league, around this country, are so advanced that he’s definitely going to get the right treatment. I’m confident he’s going to come back and I’m sure the organization, the Bulls organization, the Bulls’ fans, are confident, as well.”
Then KD went out and blistered the Bulls for 35 points in OKC’s win.
Are you as confident as Russ and KD Rose will make a full recovery?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.