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News » Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-03-11

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-03-11

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-03-11
The Thunder didn't come into the season with any playoff illusions. The goal all along was to improve and continue to build the foundation for the future. A coaching firing and a 3-27 start put both those goals in serious jeopardy.

Interim coach Scott Brooks now has Oklahoma City right on track. Going back to New Year's Eve, the Thunder are very respectable 15-19 after wining at Sacramento on Tuesday night. The latest 5-1 stretch has been done largely without Kevin Durant and Jeff Green in the lineup.

"Guys are out there scrapping and playing hard for Coach Brooks," recently-acquired veteran forward Malik Rose said. "We have to use every play to get better. We are shorthanded, but when we get back to 100 percent, it will help us win some games."

Rose added that the team has a goal for the rest of the season, which is down to 18 games. "We have a few more games to play and if we can win more than half of those," he said, "it's going to be a loud statement for us."

Veteran backup guard Earl Watson said that "for the guys who haven't been to the playoffs, this is the best time of the year because every game counts." Watson put a special emphasis winning road games as proving playoff worthiness down the line. Oklahoma City began a three-game trip with the Kings.

"We have to create a mindset of being a team that will be in the playoffs in the future," he said. "These are games that we have to win for future experience."

THUNDER 99, KINGS 98: Jeff Green returned to action with 22 points and Oklahoma City returned to the winner's circle with a rare road victory Tuesday night at Sacramento. The Thunder (18-46) have won five of their last six, and improved to 5-26 away from home.

Russell Westbrook also scored 22 for Oklahoma City, which had to hold on throughout the fourth quarter despite taking an eight-point lead into the final period. Thabo Sefolosha added 17 points, Malik Rose scored 11 points and Nenad Krstic had 15 rebounds for the Thunder.

Spencer Hawes scored 20 for Sacramento, which had leading scorer Kevin Martin on the bench for the final 15 minutes. Oklahoma City continues its three-game road trip Wednesday night at Denver.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 11, 2009


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