Thunder notebook: Looking forward after loss to Lakers

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: November 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm •  Published: November 24, 2009
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Thunder coach Scott Brooks managed to stay upbeat on Monday, a day after seeing his team lose by 16 points to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Thunder trailed by as many as 28 points and shot just 37.2 percent for the game. Brooks is banking on his team bouncing back tonight against Utah and showing the resiliency it has shown early this season following tough losses.

"We want to bounce back and play better,” Brooks said. "We want to be more consistent with our energy. Last game I thought we started off the game a step too slow. We can’t afford to do that against Utah. They’re a very strong team, especially on their home floor.”

A better defensive effort seems to be the key, as the Thunder has regressed recently on that end of the court. After allowing 100 points or more in four of its first 11 games, the Thunder has now given up at least 100 points in each of the past three contests. The Thunder is 1-6 when allowing at least 100 points. Utah enters the game averaging 99.9 points.

"We’re giving up easy baskets,” said point guard Russell Westbrook. "I think that’s the key. And we haven’t been staying focused on what we do defensively.”

WESTBROOK VS. WILLIAMS
The most entertaining match up tonight, and perhaps the most critical, could be Westbrook versus Utah point guard Deron Williams. Williams is widely considered a top three point guard and is averaging nearly 20 points and 10 assists. He averaged 24.3 points and 9.7 assists in three games against the Thunder last season.

"He’s been playing great,” Westbrook said. "He’s always been a great point guard. It’s a tough challenge for me, but I’m going to go out and play to the best of my abilities.”

THUNDER WALKS INTO UTAH WOUNDED
The injury bug has made its way to the Thunder, claiming guard Kevin Ollie and center Nenad Krstic as its latest victims.

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