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News » Malik Rose: Let's get nasty

Malik Rose: Let's get nasty

Malik Rose: Let's get nasty
Forward Malik Rose arrived late in the season after a trade with the New York Knicks. He marveled at a young Thunder team's chemistry. Maybe too good.

"When I got here, I was happy to see there weren't cliques, like five guys hang out and these three don't talk to anybody," Rose said. "Everybody was joking around.

"On the flip side, practices were too fun. A little elbow or a little fight here or there in practice, being physical, pushing and shoving is good. But when you step off the court, it's great to get back to being best friends, being close, hanging out and joking."

Some call it grit. During this year's NBA playoffs, "nastiness" was a term used to describe the Houston Rockets' and Denver Nuggets' ability to go toe-to-toe with the highly favored Los Angeles Lakers.

Call it what you want, but Rose, who won two NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, said developing toughness is essential.

"He's a vet," said Oklahoma City forward D.J. White, who made his debut late in his rookie season after jaw surgery. "He knows what it takes to win championships. You have to listen to him. He knows what he's talking about."

The primary reason Boston manhandled the Lakers in last year's NBA Finals was Kevin Garnett and his Celtics teammates' edginess, a toughness that proved to be the difference in the series.

A young Thunder team doesn't need to turn into the modern-day version of the Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boys." But championship-caliber teams often have a little nastiness.

Kevin Durant, the 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year, saw a nasty streak last season, just not often enough.

"Last summer, me and Jeff (Green) were close to fightin' because he might have pushed me too hard or I might have elbowed him," Durant said. "We never really got mad. That's the kind of competitive edge we need to have all the time."

Green agrees.

"Yeah, maybe at times we were too nice," Green said. "I think that will change over time. We need to develop a physical mentality. It's going to come."

Rose said team chemistry is vital, but developing an edge in practice produces benefits during an 82-game regular-season grind.

"They just need another year playing together," Rose said. "Once they get over that hump and learn what it takes to win consistently, they'll be very good. At times, they played very well. They just need another year of maturity."

And maybe a little more nastiness.


With D.J. White

Thunder power forward D.J. White was spotted at the Women's College World Series

→Was this your first trip to the WCWS?

"Yes. It was a great atmosphere. This is good for softball and Oklahoma."

→Are you a big softball fan?

"I followed it when I was at Indiana. I knew some of the players. It's a great sport."

→Do you follow baseball, too?

"Yes. I'm a fan. I went to a Cubs game right after our season was over."

→How long are you in Oklahoma City?

"I'll be here another week or two and then head back home (to Tuscaloosa) for a few weeks. I'll be in and out all summer."

→How are summer workouts going?

"Good. I'm ready to go right now. I only played in seven games. I have a lot of energy. The plan is to keep working out and then play in Orlando (in the summer league)."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 3, 2009


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