Newly acquired guard Russell Westbrook scored 13 points and dished out six assists in 21 minutes in his debut Tuesday with the Houston Rockets. See below for his complete highlight package.
Westbrook’s Houston debut came at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, where the Rockets faced the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors in a two-game preseason series. The sides will meet again on Thursday at the same time in the same arena.
The Rockets did lose Tuesday’s game to the Raptors, 134-129, which drops Houston to 2-1 on the preseason. However, Houston led by seven going to the final period. The game’s result was decided by Toronto’s 35-23 edge in the fourth quarter, long after Westbrook, James Harden, and most starters on both teams had stopped playing.
Harden led the way with 34 points and seven assists on remarkable efficiency (11-of-14 shooting, four-of-seven on three-pointers).
Westbrook was less efficient, with his 13 points coming on four-of-10 shooting from the field. However, he did have six assists in just 21 minutes, and his four-of-five showing (80%) from the free-throw line was an encouraging step forward after his subpar 65.6% showing on free throws a year ago in Oklahoma City.
Westbrook sat out Houston’s first two preseason games as part of a maintenance plan to ease him back into NBA shape after an offseason knee scope. He did have five turnovers in Tuesday’s game, which shows the value of getting him preseason minutes to help knock the rust off before Houston’s regular season begins on Oct. 24.
The Rockets acquired Westbrook in a July trade with the Thunder, who received Chris Paul and draft considerations from Houston.