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News » So close, so far


So close, so far


So close, so far
The Thunder has struggled all season in close games and is 1-8 in games decided by two points or less, 3-17 in games decided by six points or less.

"It's all a learning experience for us to where we'll start winning some of these close games sooner or later," said coach Scott Brooks. "Whether that's this season or next season, they can draw on these experiences."

Defensive improvement

With Kevin Durant sidelined, there's even more emphasis on defense. The Thunder held Dallas to 44.7 percent shooting Friday night and followed with another solid outing Saturday night at Memphis. Thabo Sefolosha has made a difference, but other players have improved defensively.

"When you lose someone like that who brings so much to the team, we have to learn how to share the wealth," said Kyle Weaver. "More importantly, we have to get more stops. You can see how big it is when we have a good defensive half."

Playing hard

Scouts, opposing players and coaches have commented the Thunder has a talented young nucleus. Another frequent comment is they're impressed how hard they play despite having less wins than all but one team in the league.

"If you look at the history of this league, at this time of the year, teams that don't have good records usually have a lot of bad games," Brooks said. "What I like about this team is our guys are high character. I'm confident they will play hard the rest of the season."

Kidd: We got lucky

The Thunder easily could have five or six more wins. Costly turnovers, poor execution on offense and the inability to get a critical defensive stop have cost them in tight games. There's also been a "Murphy's Law" cloud over this team all season, highlighted by five losses in the final seconds.

Dallas All-Star point guard Jason Kidd admitted as much after the Mavericks' overtime win Friday night. "We finally got it together, but it was a lesson learned," Kidd said. "We got lucky tonight."

Inspector Gadget

Before Friday's game, when Durant suffered an ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely, Brooks used a unique analogy to stress Durant's defensive potential. "He has those Inspector Gadget arms that keeps going out there," Brooks said. "He has the ability to block a couple of shots a game. When he gets it defensively, I think you're going to see two blocks a game."

Fast break ...

Memphis, ranked No. 5, defeated Southern Mississippi in front of a sellout crowd (18,454) Saturday afternoon at FedEx Forum. A few hours later, the Thunder-Grizzlies game had an estimated 7,000 fans ... Center Robert Swift played for only the second time since Jan. 9. Swift played well, highlighted by two blocks in the first half ... The seven-game losing streak was OKC's third longest all season.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 4, 2009

 

 
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