Westbrook Getting Closer To Return

Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook had one of his more extensive workouts on the floor at Chesapeake Energy Arena this morning before the Thunder-Knicks game.

He worked on dribble drives and appeared to be at or near full speed then took shots from all over the floor.

On his jumpers though he wasn't elevating very much but he still looked very good and obviously is getting closer to his return to the starting lineup.

Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was asked about his star point guard during his session with the media prior to tipoff and Brooks through a bucket of cold water on the speculation that Westbrook would return early.

"Russell hasn't participated in practice," Brooks said, "He's just been doing his workouts either before or after our practices. I don't know for sure when he'll be back, just sometime after thee All-Star Break."

Taking into consideration what happened the last time Westbrook was out, fans and reporters have been thinking Westbrook would again return earlier than the timetable indicated.

So even tough it appears Westbrook is moving as good as ever it certainly doesn't appear that he'll be back anytime before that February 20th game against Miami, the Thunder's first game after the All-Star Break.

New York State of Mind

The New York Knicks, a team that can look like it's capable of a long playoff run one night and then just as capable of not winning another game the next night, is the opponent today.

The Knicks lost to the woeful Milwaukee Bucks on February 3rd then followed that up with a close loss to Portland and a clobberation of the Denver Nuggets. The Knicks gave up just 94 points to the Trail Blazers in a 94-90 loss and then just 90 to the Nuggets in a 117-90 blowout win.

So go figure.

Before the game both coaches paid a lot of attention to the other's superstar. Kevin Durant leads the NBA in scoring at 31 points a game and has won three of the last four scoring titles.

Carmelo Anthony won that other title and is second this season at 27.4 points game.

Brooks said, "It's gonna take the whole team to get in front of him. We have to able to guard him all over the floor."

And Knicks boss Mike Woodson told reporters just before the game, "Durant's gonna score, we just have to make sure he doesn't score in bunches."

The last time these teams met was the last time Westbrook played in a game and he had a triple double in the Thunder's blowout win in Madison Square Garden.

Tipoff is at Noon and can be seen exclusively on ABC with Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown.

Our ThunderGameReport.com camera crew will be in the Thunder lockerroom after the game and check out post game reaction there.