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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Jeff Green walked gingerly across the visiting locker room at Arco Arena, his lower back and left knee both wrapped heavily in ice. If there was any lingering pain in his body after missing the past four games, he wasn't about to fess up to it.

"I feel good," Green said.

And the back, which forced him to miss the quartet of games?

"Feels great," he assured.

You certainly can't argue with the results. Green scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Thunder to a 99-98 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. His efforts helped Oklahoma City record only its fifth road win and improve to 5-1 without leading scorer Kevin Durant.

"We've got some great physical therapists and some great trainers," Green said. "They took good care of me. They made me hold back from coming back too early. So I think it worked in my favor."

Green made six of 13 shots in 36 minutes while adding six rebounds, two assists and a steal. He got off to a hot start early, scoring four of the Thunder's first eight points to spark a 10-0 run to start the game. Green finished with 14 points at halftime.

"He was tired the first 30 seconds, but he did a good job," said Russell Westbrook, who also had 22 points. "He helped us win the game."

Green did show some rust, finishing with a season-high tying seven turnovers, including five of the Thunder's 11 in the fourth quarter. But Green never favored his back, in fact doing the exact opposite by attacking the rim relentlessly and putting his body in harm's way on several occasions by hustling for loose balls.

On the game's final possession, Green secured the win by battling Kings forward Andres Nocioni before batting away a lob pass off an out-of-bounds play with 0.1 tenths of a seconds left on the clock.

"He hasn't really touched a Basketball other than playing one-on-zero with coach (Brian) Keefe, but that's really not playing," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "I thought he did pretty good. He competed hard."

With Green now healthy and back in the mix, the Thunder figures to become an even tougher team than the one that has stunned even a few playoff teams over the past two weeks.

Before his injury, Green was averaging 17.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He had averages of 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 12 February games.

"He helps us out, especially at the (power forward) spot because teams can't do too much switching because of the (versatility) he possesses," said Westbrook. "And he does a lot of different things to help us win games."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 14, 2009


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