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News » Winning on the road is next hurdle for Thunder


Winning on the road is next hurdle for Thunder


Winning on the road is next hurdle for Thunder
While the Thunder is 5-5 in its last 10 games, one thing missing from the resume is wins on the road.

Oklahoma City is 2-17 away from the Ford Center and hits the road for its first West Coast trip of the season that begins tonight against Golden State.

The Thunder defeated the Warriors on New Year's Eve - the first of five wins the past three weeks. Saturday night the Thunder visits the Los Angeles Clippers, who snapped a 12-game losing streak over the weekend.

"We just have to keep our composure, play with the same energy and stick with our game plan," said Kevin Durant. "If we do that we can win games on the road."

The Thunder played perennial powers San Antonio, Dallas and Detroit to the wire on the road earlier this season, but the only two road wins were at Memphis and Chicago.

"As has been the case for a lot of situations for us this year, it comes down to one possession," said general manager Sam Presti. "We're working towards being the ones making that play. On the road we have to learn to take a bunker mentality and execute."

Oddly enough, the Thunder's statistics are almost identical home and road. They're slightly better in free throw percentage and turnovers on the road but shoot from the field and rebound a shade better in the Ford Center.

A recent string of wins primarily has been at the Ford Center other than an overtime win at Chicago. Can they carry that momentum onto the road?

Veteran point guard Earl Watson said Hubie Brown, his coach at Memphis, then a playoff team, set a goal of finishing .500 or better on the road. That's too lofty for this team, but Watson said recent improvement should lead to more road wins.

"In the NBA it's rare to get a college-like atmosphere on the road like you get in Oklahoma City," Watson said. "The key on the road is being focused and taking teams out what they're comfortable with. Every team is different... You try and take away what they do best."

Coach Scott Brooks said playing solid defense for 48 minutes is the key regardless of where games are played.

"There's no simple solution," Brooks said. "You have to do the same things you do at home on the road. You're not in a comfortable environment, usually in front of a hostile crowd. ... The key is you have to get stops and have a defensive mindset."

HOME VS. AWAY

Home Pts. Opp. FG% FT% REB TO 95.5 102.3 45.0 75.8 43.3 17.1

Road Pts. Opp. FG% FT% REB. TO 95.2 102.3 44.1 76.7 41.7 15.7

Thunder AT Warriors

→When: 9:30 tonight

→Where: ORACLE Arena, Oakland, Calif.

→TV: Fox Sports-Oklahoma (Cox 37)

→Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, 640-AM

→Live blog: blog.newsok.com/nbainokc

Three things to know

→ The Thunder is 1-1 against Golden State.

→ The Warriors rank second in the league in scoring at 107 points per game but allow a league-worst 112 points per contest.

→ Tonight's game is the fifth in a season-long seven-game home stand for Golden State.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 23, 2009

 

 
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