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News » Wilcox, Thunder fall short

Wilcox, Thunder fall short

Wilcox, Thunder fall short
Chris Wilcox made all the right plays in the fourth quarter, right up until he picked up his sixth foul with 10.4 seconds remaining and could no longer will his Thunder teammates to a much-needed win.

Mike Miller hit the game-winning jumper from 19 feet out with a tenth of a second remaining to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 105-103 victory over the Thunder on Friday night.

But lost in the Thunder's franchise-high-tying 14th straight defeat, which dropped it to 1-16, was Wilcox's best performance of the season. He scored 15 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, adding seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 30 minutes off the bench.

It was the latest in a string of solid performances from Wilcox, who had been one of the Thunder's biggest underachievers early this year. Over the past four games, however, Wilcox is averaging 16.7 points on 62 percent shooting to go with 7.0 rebounds.

"I'm just being more aggressive," Wilcox said. "I know what I have to do to help my team win games and what I've got to do to put my team in the best situation to win games. That's what I've been doing, just going out there playing and competing."

When the Thunder trailed by six with 6:55 left to play, it was Wilcox who scored six of the team's next eight points to pull Oklahoma City even at 92-all. When the Wolves followed that 8-2 surge by peeling off a 6-0 run, it was Wilcox who hit a short jumper and assisted Jeff Green and Kevin Durant on consecutive 3-pointers to give the Thunder a 100-99 lead with 1:05 remaining.

More impressive than Wilcox's offensive production in the fourth quarter was his defense on Minnesota's Al Jefferson, who Wilcox held to just one point and two rebounds in the final period.

"He's been playing like that since I took over, and I'm proud of his effort," said Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks. "He has special talents, and our job is to always get it out of him night in and night out. And he's been doing that."

Brooks credited Wilcox for working hard to recover from a knee injury that cost him five games and has forced him to wear a knee brace that he hopes to ditch within the next two weeks.

Wilcox has also gotten more touches in the post under Brooks than he saw under former coach P.J. Carlesimo, something Wilcox said should help the team eventually find success.

"In the beginning of the season, we've got to play an inside-outside game, no matter if it's a guard down there posting up or whoever," Wilcox said. "We just got to make the ball move, and in order for the ball to move, we got to play inside-out because nobody really has confidence in us shooting outside jump shots."

Durant and Green led the Thunder with 22 points each, and Russell Westbrook had 15 points off the bench. The Thunder was out-rebounded 43-33, including a 13-7 advantage on the offensive end that led to 18 second-chance points for the Wolves.

"We still have to clean up the small things," Brooks said. "But we're competing and that's what I like."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 2, 2008


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