Thrilling Sunday For Thunder Fans
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Almost 5-thousand Thunder fans showed up at Edmond North High School on Sunday to show their appreciation for Russell Westbrook and he again told all those fans they're the best in all of sports.
A few minutes later he told reporters “I like where I'm at, I like to see the fans, I enjoy where I play basketball, and obviously with the extension, it shows that," he said.
Thunder fans and the organization itself have supported Westbrook through good and great times, bad and terrible times. From missed shots and turnovers to triple-doubles and stunning buzzer beaters they've always had his back.
“It's just unbelievable. I'm truly honored and blessed,” Westbrook smiled. “It's just something that you can't make up. You can't re-enact it. The people here, they're genuine. They truly obviously love me and love the team, and they stay strong to that, and that's something that you don't find many places.”
After what the team called "ThunderFest With Russ" it was time to head into the gym for the annual Blue/White Scrimmage.
About half the crowd had to stay outside in Thunder Alley because they weren't able to get tickets. The Edmond North administration distributed tickets to students, staff and boosters.
Westbrook didn't play because of that platelet rich injection he received a couple of weeks ago in his left knee.
He gave reporters no indication when he will return but head coach Billy Donovan said Westbrook is "fine."
Without "The Brodie" the scrimmage quickly became a showcase for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and they did not disappoint. George was on fire hitting 12 of his 14 shots for 30 points and going 6-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Anthony, wearing a sleeveless hoodie...yes a sleeveless hoodie under his practice jersey, scored 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds and handing out five assists.
Steven Adams, with more room to operate down low scored 13 points on 5-5 shooting and grabbed six rebounds.
"The guys did a really nice job,” Donovan said. “There’s a lot of things that we can learn from and get better from and really take a look at both offensively and defensively. It gives us a little bit more information.”
And Donovan, though he's already been seeing it in practice, was also impressed with how well George and Anthony operated within the offense.
“Those guys really moved the ball very well. They extra passed it and skipped it,” Donovan said.
And finally the coach and the players all seemed to really get a kick out of the packed house at the Edmond North gymnasium as students yelled their support and chanted.
“It’s such a great reflection on the community,” Donovan said. “The people are just incredibly supportive. Our guys really enjoy coming into these venues because it’s intimate and they get a chance to connect with a lot of the fans. We appreciate all the support and people coming out the way we do.”
The Thunder will practice Monday and Tuesday before busing up to Tulsa for Tuesday night's preseason opener against the Houston Rockets.