MINNEAPOLIS — Russell Westbrook elected rest would be best Tuesday in Minnesota, where he missed his first game of the year.

“Sitting down and talking to him, talking to the medical staff, this was an opportunity [to rest him],” Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. “But at the end of the day it’s his decision of how he feels and trying to capitalize on maybe taking a day off, a game off, and I get that.”

Westbrook wasn’t the only one who sat, either. Forwards Taj Gibson and Andre Roberson, who has dealt with some left knee soreness over the past week, rested, as well.

Westbrook had played all 80 of the Thunder’s games this season. But there is now only one game to go until the playoffs, and OKC locked into the No. 6 seed days ago. Tuesday night's game was meaningless. So is Wednesday's season-closing home game against Denver. Taking some time off was intuitive, especially on a back-to-back. 

“At the end of the day, he was the one who also really felt that, OK, this would be a good day,” Donovan said of Westbrook. “I think myself and our medical staff really agreed with him that this would be a good opportunity to get some rest.”

Though it’s against his reputation, Tuesday night was not the first time Westbrook has rested. He did so a couple of games in the Thunder’s final four last year, sitting out in Portland and then again in San Antonio to close the year.

“I like to play basketball. So, Iike to go out there and compete and have fun,” Westbrook told reporters when asked about resting March 22. “I think for me, I look at it differently, just for me, being hurt and unable to play games, I embrace every opportunity I have to play basketball.”

Of course, circumstances were far different then, when the Thunder were not yet close to locking into a playoff seed.

• Franchise record: Westbrook likely won’t play many minutes Wednesday vs. Denver — if he even plays at all — but it’s worth noting he’s nearing a milestone. He is only 40 away from Kevin Durant’s Thunder record for most points in a season.

• The Big O: ESPN’s Marc Spears reports that NBA legend Oscar Robertson plans on attending the Thunder’s season finale Wednesday in Oklahoma City. Robertson was, of course, the only man ever to average a triple-double for a full season until Westbrook recently clinched his season-long average. 

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