Yes, it was against what is essentially a D-League team, but Russell Westbrook's 21-minute bludgeoning of the 76ers is worth being excited about. 13 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes isn't something that just happens to a guy coming off his second knee surgery of the year. 13 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes is a sign that, hopefully, Russ is still Russ.
When a guy like Russell Westbrook comes back from a knee injury, the fear is always that he will be just that much slower then he was before, just that much less explosive. For a guy who relies so much on his athleticism, even the slightest loss of physical ability can be a death knell. After looking rusty and a little sluggish in his first post-surgery game against the Heat, it was hard not to think that maybe old Russ was gone.
But Westbrook looked like he was playing at a higher speed than everyone else on the court last night. He was in a constant state of motion—bouncing, cutting, and jumping in too many directions for the 76ers to even think about slowing him down—and he was doing it all without hesitation. It's that combination of kinetic energy and instinct that's always allowed Westbrook to work his way into angles and seams that nobody else can get to, and both attributes were on display last night.
Russ back? Russ back.