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News » New, improved

New, improved

New, improvedThe last time the Sonics/ Thunder owned a winning record heading into December, Nick Collison was a rookie.

Oklahoma City isn't off to a 17-3 start like those 2004-05 Sonics wh finished 52-30.

But this isn't a season where playoff hopes are gone by Christmas.

"Going into the year we felt confident we would be better but we really didn't know," Collison said. "Over the month we saw some really encouraging signs, able to get some good road wins. Our level of play was pretty good. But we can get better."

The surprising twist to a 9-8 start is the Thunder played better on the road than at home. OKC won at San Antonio, Utah, Miami and Detroit but lost at home to the Clippers and Rockets.

"I like the improvement that we're making, but we still have to keep getting better," said coach Scott Brooks. "We can't stop because we had a decent month. December is no different than November in our message or our approach."

December is another challenging month. The Thunder will play 15 games in 30 days, four back-to-backs and has a five-game week in the middle of the month.

"We had a tough schedule in November and thought we did pretty well," Collison said. "December will be another tough month. Hopefully we can keep it going. You just try to put yourself in position at the end and make enough plays to win. We did that the first month."

Collison, 29, has paid his dues. Over the past four seasons, he's played for teams that combined for 219 losses - a 27-55 average finish. The Thunder has one third that win total after one month.

"There's a long way to go," Collison said. "You see it every year where teams start out strong and fall off or vice versa teams struggle early and come on. We've got to do it over again and over again. But, for sure, this is an encouraging start."

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Added: December 4, 2009


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