Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-01-19

Even though the Thunder began the second half of the season with a loss, the team has made considerable progress in recent weeks. Oklahoma City was 5-4 in the nine games before Sunday's setback against Miami.

Considering the record on the season stands at 8-34, picking up more than half of the wins in such a short span is noteworthy. The recent upturn brings into question the old adage that a team is only as good as its record.

Sure, OKC owns the league's worst mark, but the Thunder hasn't looked like the worst lately. Victories over Detroit and Utah last week suggest the Kevin Durant-led bunch isn't some pushover.

Durant said as much: "Before, teams would come out and say, 'We're playing the Thunder. This is an easy win for us.' But now teams are coming in and saying they've got to bring their best and play hard because we're scrappy. That's our identity."

Interim coach Scott Brooks points out that his team hasn't settled or begun to feel sorry for itself.

"What I like about this team is we're not happy about our record," he said. "We understand it should be better. We feel we're a better team than the wins we have. That bothers them. That bothers all of us."

The Thunder next will play Wednesday at Golden State, a team it defeated at home on Dec. 31.

HEAT 104, THUNDER 94: Kevin Durant scored 31 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome Dwyane Wade's 32 as Oklahoma City fell at home Sunday to Miami. The Thunder's season-high two-game winning streak was snapped.

Jeff Green added 22 points for OKC, while Russell Westbrook scored 14 and grabbed eight rebounds. The Thunder played from behind all night and didn't have enough to sustain a fourth-quarter rally.

Wade scored most of his points early and piled up most of his 10 assists late. Yakhouba Diawara, starting in place of Shawn Marion, scored 14. Udonis Haslem had a season-high 15 rebounds for Miami, which finished up a 4-3 road trip.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 19, 2009