status for tonight will be a game-time decision. Durant said after Wednesday’s loss that three days rest for a sprained ankle he suffered Monday night at Indiana should allow him to play tonight in New York.
"It was awful tender (Wednesday),” said coach P.J. Carlesimo
. "He really only did about five minutes in a not-difficult practice (Tuesday). Literally, it will be how he feels at the shootaround (this morning) and more importantly what he feels like (tonight).”
Shooting has been the Thunder’s biggest shortcoming. Through eight games, Oklahoma City is shooting a league-worst 40 percent from the field. The player in the biggest slump is rookie Russell Westbrook
, who has shot 13.8 percent the past two games (4-of-29).
Other than Joe Smith
(52.7 percent) and Kevin Durant
(45.1), it’s pretty much a team-wide epidemic. For the season, Westbrook (29.0 percent), Earl Watson
(33.7), Jeff Green
(38.6), Desmond Mason
(39.1) and Nick Collison
(41.7) have struggled offensively.
"Some of that is execution. Some of that is guys are better shooters than they’ve shown so far,” Carlesimo said. "They’re not making shots. We’re confident that will change. We still have to get better shots and get it up the floor a little more consistently, so we’re playing open floor sometimes.”
DIALING LONG DISTANCE
Green surprisingly has shot much better behind the 3-point arc than inside it. His 52.2 percentage on 3-pointers (12-of-23) ranks among the league leaders.
"I’ve been practicing it, shooting a lot every day,” Green said. "These past two games, my shots have been falling. Teams have been backing off me, so I’ve just been taking what they give me. If they keep doing that, I’ll keep shooting. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help my team win.”
Durant will have his first signature shoe in January. The "Home” shoe features a white leather upper with an orange swoosh on the outside of the shoe and a white swoosh on the inside.
Center Robert Swift
said teammates razzed him about his second haircut in three years. Since the team arrived in Oklahoma City, the 7-footer stood out with his tattoos and shaggy, red hair. Earlier this week, he switched to a short, gel-enhanced ’do.
"They’re all telling me it looks better,” Swift said, smiling. "I cut off around 14 inches this past summer, changing back to a shaggy look instead of it being really long. This time, I took most of it off. I’ve relatively had the same haircut for three years. I just wanted a change. I meant to do it a while ago but haven’t had time.”
BY MIKE BALDWIN