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News » Rotation issues

Rotation issues

Rotation issues Thunder coach Scott Brooks prefers a nine-man rotation. In the opener, Nick Collison and Etan Thomas were interior players off the bench. James Harden and Kevin Ollie were the two guards off the bench.

Based on the opener, Shaun Livingston is the odd-man out at point guard. D.J. White and Serge Ibaka might not see much playing time, although Ibaka's length and shot-blocking skills were intriguing during the preseason.

"He may get an opportunity," Brooks said. "We like what he does. He has to continue to work (hard). He runs the floor very well. He can rebound and block shots. He brings energy - an energy guy off the bench, we will use."

Kyle Weaver, who started 19 games last season, Ryan Bowen and rookie Byron Mullens were inactive for the opener.


Nenad Krstic primarily was a pick-and-pop perimeter weapon last season after signing with the Thunder during the holidays. Krstic scored 20 points, highlighted by a team-high 11 free throw attempts, against Sacramento on Wednesday.

"When he came back after playing for his national team this summer, Nenad was very confident," Brooks said. "Last year, he was just trying to feel his way around with our team. The guys understand his game more now. He's not a big-time low-post scorer. But he can score on the block with certain matchups."


Collison, sidelined much of preseason with a severely sprained ankle, said he's not 100 percent. His stat line (two points and one rebound in 16 minutes) wasn't typical Collison.

"I don't feel I have all my athleticism back. But I think I can still be effective and help the team," Collison said. "It's just certain things I have to push through.

"Catching the ball on the base line, I was a little hesitant on whether to go up really strong or pump fake. I made a couple of mistakes there. It's just something I have to play through. It's going to be sore for a while. That's just the way it is."


During a 39-point first quarter, the Thunder had only one turnover. Oklahoma City finished the game with 13.

"Considering we led the league in turnovers last year, I'd say that's a good start for the year," Brooks quipped. "When we work hard on the defensive end, we want to reward ourselves with a good shot and not turn the ball over. For the most part, we took care of the Basketball."


This was the 18th "Opening Night" of Brooks' career. But since this was his first as a head coach, was he more nervous? "I believe in butterflies. If you don't have them maybe you're not into the game," Brooks said. "I've always believed nervous butterflies are good because you care about the results."

ABOVE .500

It's only one game, but the Thunder /Sonics are above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2004-05 season, when Seattle finished 52-30, the franchise's last playoff appearance.

It might be difficult to stay above .500. Oklahoma City's next five games are against playoff teams from last season (Detroit, Portland, Lakers, Houston and Orlando) before facing the Kings again Nov. 10 in Sacramento.


Rookie James Harden, the No. 3 overall pick, struggled defensively but was 2-for-2 from the field, scoring five points. ... Kings rookie Omri Casspi (15 points) officially became the first player from Israel to play in the NBA. ... Banners of Thunder players hanging from the lobby ceiling in the Loud City are a new feature this season. ... At all home Wednesday games, Thunder officials will choose a few selected fans based on loyalty. The winner every Wednesday, voted by the fans, receives club terrace seats to a future game and a $200 Love's gift card.

Play Basketball Hot Streak and win prizes!

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 31, 2009


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