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Houston Rockets

Russell Westbrook and James Harden come up big in Houston Rockets win over Oklahoma City Thunder

821. That's how many games Russell Westbrook suited up as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first 11 seasons of his NBA career.

Three games into his tenure as a Houston Rocket, Westbrook would go against the Thunder for the first time.

Just 48 hours after passing Magic Johnson on the NBA's all-time triple-double list, Westbrook fell just short as of recording another as he posted the impressive stat line of 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in 35 minutes of action.

Westbrook has recorded a triple-double against every team in the NBA minus the Thunder, falling just one assist shy in his first game against his former team.

Westbrook was aggressive throughout the night and finished shooting an efficient 9-for-16 from the field (56.3%) and was a team-best plus-19 in the box score. As soon as the buzzer rang, the 2017 league MVP was seen cordially greeting a number of his former teammates and coaches as well as Thunder staff.

Following the game, Westbrook spoke with reporters about his competitive nature on the floor versus how he is off of the floor:

"When I hoop, I have no friends. On the court, they know not to talk to me - Steven (Adams) is a real close friend of mine but inside those lines, there's no friends. Spalding, that's my friend, and my teammates and that's it but before the game and after the game, I'll talk to my guys… but that doesn't mean that I have friends"

In what is sure to be an emotional outing, Westbrook and the Rockets will make their lone trip to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Jan. 8, 2020.

It's not as recent of a memory as those with Westbrook, but James Harden did appear in 220 games for OKC from 2009-2012. In his 26th career game against the Thunder, Harden erupted for 40 points despite shooting just 8-for-21 from the field and 3-for-14 from beyond the arc.

While he failed to get going from the field, it was aggression from Harden that resulted in his knocking down 21 of his 22 free throw attempts on the night. Harden has struggled to get going offensively early on this season as he is now shooting 28.6% from the field and 15.0% from deep through three games.

He'll look to get back on track Wednesday the Rockets travel to Washington to take on Bradley Beal and the Wizards.

Harden and Westbrook weren't the only two facing their former team, as OKC point guard Chris Paul finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists against the team he spent the past two seasons with. The Thunder were led by 22 points from both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder, who also added seven assists and five rebounds off the bench.

Though they fall to 1-3 on the season, the Thunder's three losses have come by an average margin of just 7.0 points. They'll return home for a playoff rematch with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

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