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Grading Russell Westbrook’s Rockets debut

Russell Westbrook, Rockets

Russell Westbrook made his debut with the Houston Rockets on Thursday night. Though the Milwaukee Bucks carried the day, 117-111, the former No. 4 overall pick had a solid outing.

Houston led for much of Thursday night’s season opener. In fact, the Rockets were up by 16 points at one time. However, a late rally allowed the Bucks to close the gap and eventually steal a victory. Milwaukee All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points before fouling out, but his teammates held on to seal the proverbial deal.

Westbrook, who has reunited with James Harden in Houston, led the Rockets in the scoring department. In his 33 minutes of playing time, Russell posted 24 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field (3-of-7 from beyond the arc), a team-high 16 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block.

There were no jitters for Russ, as he had it going early in the first quarter. His first bucket came in the form of a three-pointer that banked in as he fell to the floor. Near the end of the first, he drove coast-to-coast in transition, culminating with a contested one-handed layup.

He wasn’t just scoring, though. Westbrook was finding the open man, as well as creating opportunities. He found Tyson Chandler on a give-and-go play in the closing minute of the first, resulting in an emphatic two-handed jam and a 13-point lead.

Harden, who struggled to find his mark from the field in Thursday’s loss (2-of-13 shooting with a team-high 14 assists), had high praise for Westbrook’s performance:

“Everybody saw it tonight,” Harden told ESPN. “He’s a different type of breed on that court. But it’s Game 1, we’re not going to get too down, and even if we won, we’re not going to get too excited.”

With his performance, Westbrook joined the great Hakeem Olajuwon as the only Rockets players with 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a season opener in team history.

As for Westbrook’s grade in his debut with the Rockets, we’re giving the eight-time All-Star a solid B. He led Houston in points and rebounds. He also shot the ball fairly well from distance and pushed the pace, racking up just three turnovers. However, he finished with a plus/minus rating of 0. All in all, though, it was a quality performance.

Westbrook and the Rockets will be back in action on Saturday night, when they’ll welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to town. Tip-off inside the Toyota Center is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.

The post Grading Russell Westbrook’s Rockets debut appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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