Oklahoma City rookie Russell Westbrook was only 7-of-18 from the field but scored a career-high 34 points by going 20-of-22 at the free-throw line. The 20 made free throws were the most against the Kings in their 25-year history in Sacramento. "You just have to concentrate and focus to shoot every one of them the same,” Westbrook said of shooting 90.9 percent from the line on Sunday. "I was just trying to help my team any way I can. I did it one other time, when I had 20 in high school.”
TELL-TALE TRENDSThe Thunder is now 2-14 in games decided by six points or less, 3-20 on the road and 0-9 in games Desmond Mason hasn’t played. In those nine losses, the Thunder is allowing 107.6 points. "Defense is what wins games,” said Oklahoma City’s Jeff Green. "We knew Kevin Martin was their go-to guy and did a bad job of keeping the ball out of his hands. He can score many ways. And Bobby (Jackson) gave them a spark off the bench.”
HOMECOMINGThunder coach Scott Brooks requested 20 tickets for Sunday’s game. Brooks grew up in Lathrop, Calif., a city of 4,000 people about 50 miles south of Sacramento. His high school coach, many of his six older siblings and his mother, Lee, 76, who once rebuilt auto parts and now owns a car wash named "Dribbles” in Lathrop, were in attendance. "It was great seeing my mom and brothers and sisters and friends (Saturday) night,” Brooks said. "I’m very proud to have the privilege to be the head coach of the Thunder and come back and coach against the Kings. My family always wanted me to play for the Kings.” Brooks said there wasn’t added pressure.
TERRIFIC MONTHKevin Durant finished second in the league in scoring (27.8) in January, trailing only leader Dwyane Wade (28.1). Durant finished January with a higher average than LeBron James (27.5) or Kobe Bryant (27.2). "Being ranked among the great players in this league is an honor, but I’m just trying to get better and help this team get better,” Durant said. "My teammates did a great job of finding me in positions where it was easy for me to score. What I liked most is we played better as a team (in January).”
FAST BREAK...Brooks will give the team today off. The Thunder returns to action Wednesday night against Denver in the Ford Center. ... Oklahoma City is now 2-2 in overtime with wins over Chicago and Memphis and losses to New Jersey and Sacramento. BY MIKE BALDWIN