Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook had a summer tradition of working out in Southern California with Derrick Rose.
Westbrook had to go it alone this year, since Rose is recovering from ACL surgery.
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"It's tough. We've been working out together for about four years now," Westbrook said before Thursday's game. "It's definitely a little different. He was in the gym, still doing what he can. I can't imagine what that feels like. He's going through a tough year being injured."
Rose did spend parts of his summer in California, so they'd cross paths sometimes. Westbrook offered a prediction for Rose's return, which could happen around midseason.
"Definitely, he'll be stronger, definitely be a lot better," he said. "After seeing him this summer, seeing how quickly he was getting better and better -- no doubt in my mind he will. He works hard at what he does, and he'll definitely come back better determined and come back and try to be better."
Thunder adjusts to new lineup:
With the Thunder off to a 2-2 start, a significant story line is how the defending Western Conference champion is adjusting to the trade that sent James Harden to Houston and Kevin Martin to OKC. Harden started the night as the league's leading scorer with 30.3 points per game.
Before the game, Thunder coach Scott Brooks talked about the ordeal.
"Even myself as a coach, it's an emotional job," he said. "You get to be with these guys every day. But you also have to understand that's part of the job. You have new faces and new opportunities for guys and you have to integrate as quickly as possible. There's no excuses. You don't have time. Nobody feels sorry for you."
Bulls launch long misses:
The Bulls started the night ranked last in the league in 3-point shooting at 26.2 percent, but their shooting touch picked up slightly Thursday when they hit 5 of 15 attempts against the Thunder.
"We have guys, when you look at their career 3-point shooting, they've shown that they're capable," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We haven't taken a lot of them. I do like offensively, our ball movement. Our willingness to share the ball and our driving has been very good. Our cutting has been very good. I think in time, we're going to shoot the 3 well."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks on criticism of his team's so-so start: "Be fair. Don't judge a team by one game. We lost the first game of the season (at San Antonio) and we were just getting hammered. I thought, 'We have 81 games left. Why play them? I'm not going to waste my time, not sleep for 200 straight nights.'" ... Yannick Noah, former tennis star and father of Joakim, was at Tuesday's game. When shown on the video board, the elder Noah did a dance move in his seat. Like father, like son.