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Russell Westbrook returns with 32 points as Thunder beats Knicks, 105-78

Russell Westbrook (R) of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Russell Westbrook (R) of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Photo Credit: Getty/AFP/Frederick J. Brown

OKLAHOMA CITY - During the pregame on-court invocation, the officiant prayed for Russell Westbrook. But the Knicks were the ones in need of prayer, and they didn't have one against Westbrook.

Back after missing 14 games with a fractured right hand, the Thunder guard was too quick, explosive, athletic and talented for the Knicks to stop. That, combined with an awful offensive outing, led to their most lopsided defeat of the season -- a 105-78 loss to the Thunder Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Playing without Carmelo Anthony for the second straight game because of back spasms, the Knicks trailed by 37 points and were down by at least 20 during the last 29:38. They went winless on the three-game trip and lost for the 12th time in 14 games. The Knicks are 4-13, one game worse than they were at this point last season.

Moments before the game started, Westbrook hugged former teammate Derek Fisher before squeezing the life out of the team Fisher now coaches.

"We really couldn't get up to the level of our opponent,'' Fisher said. "That's really the first time I felt that all season.''

Westbrook shot 12-for-17 and had 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 23:48. He wore a protective brace on his right hand and showed no rust in his first game in four weeks.

The Thunder (5-12) could start making up some ground in the Western Conference. Kevin Durant is nearing a return from a broken right foot that has sidelined him all season.

The Knicks can't wait until Anthony returns, but they were struggling with him. This, however, was their worst offensive showing this season. They started the game 4-for-28 and fell behind by 27 points three minutes into the second quarter. The Knicks missed their first 14 three-pointers and ended up 2-for-19.

Amar'e Stoudemire shot 7-for-8 and led the Knicks with 20 points and nine rebounds. J.R. Smith (two points) shot 1-for-9.

Westbrook immediately made his presence felt and got wherever he wanted on the floor. He assisted on the Thunder's first three baskets and was responsible for 22 of his team's first 25 points.

Westbrook went to the bench with 14 points with 3:33 left in the first quarter and outscored the Knicks by himself in the quarter. They misfired on 18 of 22 shots in falling behind 30-13. Then they didn't score for the first 3:08 of the second quarter, which meant Westbrook still had outscored them.

The Knicks eventually pushed past Westbrook, but the hole they dug kept getting bigger.

An 11-1 run gave Oklahoma City a 51-23 lead with 3:22 remaining in the half. The Knicks scored 10 points in the final 3:03 but cut only one point off the Thunder's lead.

Westbrook continued to embarrass the Knicks in the third quarter, accounting for their first 13 points and 14 of 16 before leaving the game with 3:43 remaining with the Thunder ahead 75-42.

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