Kevin Durant might owe a small portion of his NBA success to D.J. Augustin.
The two came in as freshmen together at Texas in 2006, and while Durant averaged 25.8 points in his lone college season, Augustin contributed 6.7 assists.
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"I'm so happy for him, man," Durant said of Augustin. "We spent so much time together when I was at Texas. He lived next door to me. We had that connection since the first day we stepped on campus. I was there when he got drafted. I followed his career from Charlotte."
Augustin stayed in college for two years before entering the NBA draft. After some rough times in Indiana and Toronto, his career has been rejuvenated since joining the Bulls in December.
"I think this is a perfect home for him," Durant said. "He turned their season around when he came in when those guys were hurt and he played tremendous basketball. I hope he plays terrible tonight, but I'm so happy for him.
"He deserves it. He's a hard worker. He has his priorities in order and someone I really look up to."
Westbrook feels good for Rose:
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook used to be a summer workout partner with Derrick Rose. Now both players are recovering from similar injuries -- surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee.
"I've talked to him numerous times," Westbrook said before Monday's game. "He's a tough guy, as you guys know. It's unfortunate he had to be hurt and out another year. But he's going to come back the same D-Rose he was before."
Westbrook was injured during the first round of last year's playoffs and has had two more procedures in his knee after the initial surgery, one before the season and another that kept him out of action until Feb. 20.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced recently that Westbrook would sit out in some back-to-back situations. In this case, Westbrook played against the Bulls after sitting out Sunday's loss to Dallas.
"All I can tell you is that it was a decision we made as a group and stuck to," Westbrook said.
Inspiration per 48 minutes:
Thunder coach Scott Brooks challenged the NBA to invent a new statistic to help measure Joakim Noah's impact.
"Noah is playing as well as any big in the league," Brooks said. "He has a great ability to inspire his team, and you can't put a number on that.
"There's no stat that tells you he's a 63-percent inspirer. He inspires his team every night, and that's a great trait to have."
Kevin Durant's streak of 32 straight games with at least 25 points is the longest in the NBA since Michael Jordan had 40 straight for the Bulls in 1986-87. … The Thunder has been missing ex-Bull Thabo Sefolosha (eight games with a left-calf strain) and center Kendrick Perkins (11 games with a groin strain). … Pop star Lourde watched Monday's game from a suite.