Thunder lose despite Westbrook’s return

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Rusesell Westbrook was making his season debut following offseason knee surgery. Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Yogi Ferrell stole the ball from Russell Westbrook and scored a buzzer-beating layup at the end of the first half, capping a flurry that helped the Sacramento Kings build a double-digit lead en route to a 131-120 victory over the host Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

Ferrell’s hoop capped a personal five-point burst in the final 10.3 seconds of the second period and a 15-4 Sacramento run to finish the half, giving the Kings (1-2) a lead they never relinquished on their way to snapping a season-opening, two-game losing streak.

Westbrook, making his season debut following offseason knee surgery, had 32 points for the Thunder (0-3), which was playing its home opener following road losses against Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 0-3 start is the first in Thunder franchise history since the team’s final season in Seattle in 2008.

The Kings, who had opened with losses to Utah and New Orleans, led most of the way, including 68-56 at halftime and by as many as 17 points in the third quarter.

Oklahoma City got within five on a short jumper by Paul George with 4:57 remaining, but Iman Shumpert countered with two hoops in a 6-0 spurt that put the Kings back in command at 119-108 with 3:32 remaining.

Shumpert finished with a team-high 26 points, one shy of his career-best set in 2014 for New York against San Antonio. He made nine of his 13 shots, including four of his seven 3-point attempts.

De’Aaron Fox contributed a 22-point, 10-assist double-double for the Kings, who had lost their previous three games at Oklahoma City.

Buddy Hield (17), Willie Cauley-Stein (13), Marvin Bagley III (13), Nemanja Bjelica (12) and Justin Jackson (11) also scored in double figures for the Kings, who shot 54.9 percent from the field.

Westbrook shot 13-for-23 and nearly completed a triple-double with 12 rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes. George had 29 points, while Steven Adams recorded a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double for the Thunder.

Dennis Schroder (14) and Hamidou Diallo (11) also scored in double figures for Oklahoma City, who shot 44.2 percent.

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