Roundly criticized for his struggles on opening night, point guard Russell Westbrook came back with a scintillating performance on Friday, as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 106-92.
The controversial guard thrashed through the Portland defense on his way to 32 points on 13-of-24 shooting while adding six assists as well.
Not to be outdone, fellow Thunder superstar Kevin Durant had a monster game of his own, scoring 23 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and dishing seven assists.
Despite great efforts from the Oklahoma City stars, the contest was close for most of the night. The Thunder just methodically pulled themselves away from the Blazers by slightly outscoring them in each quarter.
Though defeated, Portland has to be thrilled about the play of point guard Damien Lillard. The No. 6 pick in June's draft had second straight strong outing, finishing with 21 points and seven assists.
Unfortunately for the Blazers, a blasphemous 1-of-11 shooting night from Nicholas Batum and an off night from the bench left them unable to keep up with a more talented Thunder squad.
Player of the Game: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
All told, Durant probably had a more efficient all-around performance, but there were few players under more pressure on Friday than Westbrook. With James Harden gone, all eyes will be focused on Westbrook the entire season to pick up his play and he did so against the Blazers.
Just when you count this guy out, he drops a 32-point reminder of why Sam Presti gave him a max contract.
Next Up for Trail Blazers
Portland will stay on the road, but won't have to travel far as they take on the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. Led by new acquisition James Harden, the Rockets are off to a surprising 2-0 start on the season.
Next Up for Thunder
Oklahoma City will get Saturday off before staying home to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. In a coincidental twist, the Hawks' only game came against the Rockets, where they lost 109-102 on Friday.