Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant encouraged with performance in his return

Oklahoman Modified: March 16, 2009 at 6:06 am •  Published: March 16, 2009
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photo - Earl Watson missed his first game of the season Saturday at Phoenix.  Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Earl Watson missed his first game of the season Saturday at Phoenix. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Durant encouraged with performance in his return
Kevin Durant showed a little rust early but looks close to 100 percent after scoring 22 points Saturday night in a 106-95 loss to Phoenix. It was Durant’s first game since he sustained a sprained ankle two weeks ago.

"The second half, I felt good. I was coming off screens. I felt normal,” Durant said.

Coach Scott Brooks said before the game he might reduce Durant’s minutes for a few games, but Durant played nearly 39 minutes, close to his season average.

"I wanted to play more,” Durant said. "I was a little winded at first. But after I got my second wind I was all right.”

WATSON SITS
Veteran point guard Earl Watson and rookie Russell Westbrook were the only players to appear in the Thunder’s first 65 games. Watson’s streak ended Saturday night.

"Nothing against Earl’s play, I just wanted to give Chucky (Atkins) some minutes,” said Brooks. "I’m going to stay with Chucky for a while. I don’t know how long. They’ve both earned minutes, but you can only play one backup point guard.”

TURNOVER TROUBLES CONTINUE
Oklahoma City was plagued by 22 turnovers in Saturday’s 106-95 loss to the Suns, including a season-high eight by Westbrook.

"They got a lot of points in the second half off our turnovers,” Brooks said. "We can do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

OKC leads the NBA in turnovers at 16.7 a game.

FAST BREAK...
Center Nenad Krstic needed six stitches near his right eye after he collided with Shaquille O’Neal midway through the first quarter. ... Brooks gave players the day off Sunday.

BY MIKE BALDWIN


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