Thunder sends White to Tulsa 66ersThe Thunder has assigned rookie forward D.J. White to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League. White, 22, has been sidelined all season after undergoing jaw surgery. The Big Ten Player of the Year, White averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds his senior year at Indiana. He was acquired as part of a draft-day trade with the Detroit Pistons, who selected White 29th overall in the first round. "He’s done an incredible job of staying mentally ready,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He’s kept a positive attitude in a tough situation. As a young player, you get a chance to play in the NBA and then you have to sit out six months? We’re glad that he’s back and has an opportunity to experience playing.” It’s too early to determine whether White might join the Thunder during any of the team’s final 14 regular-season games.
DEFENSIVE DROPSince Jan. 9, the Thunder is 11-0 in games it has held opponents to less than 100 points. Led by Derrick Rose’s 10-for-10 second-half performance, Chicago shot 52.5 percent from the field. "Our success was getting to us. We were getting a little happy,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "When we’ve won some games (lately), we’ve played with a little anger on the defensive end. We did not have that tonight. They were beating us off the dribble all across the board. It wasn’t just one guy.”
EXTRA MOTIVATIONTraded to Oklahoma City a month ago from the Bulls, Thabo Sefolosha has averaged 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals with the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 6-5 in games Sefolosha has started. He hoped to own bragging rights on his former Bulls teammates. "I’m sure I’ll hear from them. I’ve got to cut off my phone tonight,” Sefolosha said, smiling. "They have a lot of weapons. We did a good job part of the time but not for 48 minutes. That’s what hurt us.”
ULTIMATE THUNDER FANOnline voting determined four finalists for the Ultimate Thunder Fan. The crowd at Wednesday’s game chose the winner — ThunderHead — which won an all-expenses trip to watch the Thunder on March 29 in Boston. ThunderHead defeated Thorgon in the finals. Love’s, the sponsor, said it will send both to Boston. The other semifinalists were Princess and Lady Blue.
COLLISON DOUBLE-DOUBLEDespite playing with two broken fingers, Nick Collison recorded his 12th double-double of the season (12 points, 13 rebounds). Collison has worn a splint on a fractured left thumb for three months. He added a splint on the middle finger of his right hand after suffering a chipped fracture Monday night vs. San Antonio.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEWChicago’s largest lead was 95-86 with 5:47 left. The Bulls’ lead actually grew during a timeout. Kirk Hinrich drained a 3-pointer with 7:45 left, but neither official saw it. They reviewed tape at the next timeout (5:47 left) and awarded the Bulls an additional point nearly two game minutes after Hinrich made the shot.
ON THE PLUS SIDEPoints off turnovers usually is a negative stat for the Thunder. Against the Bulls, Oklahoma City scored 30 points off 22 Bulls turnovers. BY MIKE BALDWIN