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News » Gaining respect

Gaining respect

Gaining respect
Despite its mounting losses, Oklahoma City is earning more and more respect from opponents.

Golden State on Saturday night became the latest team to walk away impressed with the Thunder, particularly the team's young trio of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.

"They are gonna be special," said Stephen Jackson. "They have a good team. I think the nucleus of those three guys is going to be special, and they are getting better and better every game. I think Durant is playing like one of the best players in the league right now with the scoring he's been doing. I'm excited to see what they may do."

Said forward Corey Maggette: "Unbelievable. I'm just going to say it like this, they need one more piece and that will be a team to be reckoned with. Hopefully, they can make some good decisions to keep those guys together. If they stay hungry, that is going to be a good team."


Durant has scored at least 30 points in eight of nine games this month and is averaging 26.2 points, ranking fourth in the league. Thunder coach Scott Brooks, however, said he's not surprised by Durant's production even though Durant is only 20 years old and in just his second NBA season.

"I knew just from being around him in the summertime in D.C., and Orlando that he was going to improve because I saw the effort," Brooks said. "You get better in those five months of the off-season, and he took advantage of those five months."


Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha has a slight advantage in adjusting to his new team. Before joining the Thunder staff in January, assistant Ron Adams coached the former Bulls guard since he was drafted by Chicago in 2006.

"It helps that they have a rapport with one another," Brooks said. "There's a trust factor. I'm still getting to know him. But just from talking to him you can tell that he's a solid, sharp, high-character guy and a guy that's going to blend in well. He loves to play defense, and he brings energy. That's what he's known to do, and it's going to help us."


Nick Collison said he doesn't mind Brooks' decision to bring him off the bench in favor of starting Nenad Krstic at center. Collison has averaged 10 points and 9.5 boards in two games as a reserve.

"It really doesn't bother me," Collison said. "I've always said I just want to be able to play minutes. That's the way it goes in the league. There are good players. You've got to earn your time. But I'm fine with it. I've done it my whole career. I've probably cone off the bench more than I've started, so I'll just keep trying to play well."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 25, 2009


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