After watching one too many fast-break possessions against Milwaukee result in turnovers, botched breaks or missed shots, Thunder coach Scott Brooks dedicated much of Sunday’s practice to shoring up the team’s transition offense. Brooks said he ran 2-on-1 drills repeatedly throughout the session, ensuring that players get in a habit of finding an open teammate, getting a good shot or making the right play. "It’s something we worked on going into the season,” Brooks said. "Those are opportunities you can’t let go by. Those are the reasons why you defend the way we defend, to get opportunities in the open court. If we get a 3-on-2 we have to get a great shot. If we have a 2-on-1 we have to get a shot at the basket.” The Thunder scored its first basket Monday night against Chicago on a 3-on-2 fast break with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Thabo Sefolosha that ended with a Durant dunk.
DURANT, ROSE NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEKDurant on Monday was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 28 to Jan. 3. Durant, in games against New Jersey, Washington, Utah and Milwaukee, led all players in scoring with 34.3 points and contributed 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 blocks while leading the Thunder to a 3-1 record. Chicago guard Derrick Rose, meanwhile, was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Rose led the Bulls in scoring each game, averaging 26.7 points, 5.7 assists and five rebounds as Chicago went 3-0 during the week.
BROOKS WON’T LIMIT SEFOLOSHA’S MINUTESBrooks said he will continue to monitor Sefolosha’s right foot (plantar fasciits) but will not alter his rotation to protect his starting shooting guard unless the medical staff suggests he needs to. "They get him ready, and until they tell me differently his minutes will never be limited,” Brooks said. "He’s just going to have to keep it warm as best he can. It’s one of those things, once he gets out there and runs and gets going he’s fine.”
DEL NEGRO ON SEFOLOSHA TRADEChicago coach Vinny Del Negro complimented Sefolosha before Monday’s game for his hard work while with the Bulls before his trade to the Thunder. But Chicago dealt Sefolosha at last year’s trading deadline for the 26th overall pick, which the Bulls used to select Taj Gibson. "Thabo’s a great guy. He was working hard here,” Del Negro said. "It was just hard to get him minutes with what we had. It made sense for both teams and is one of those things that worked out. He’s done well there, and I’m happy for him.”
GREEN’S STRUGGLES CONTINUEJeff Green played a season-low 14 minutes against the Bulls, scoring eight points and getting benched in favor of Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka. "He just did not have it going,” Brooks said. "We had to look for a matchup, and we found it. Nick and Serge did a great job of sparking us.” Green has now failed to score in double figures in four of his past six games and has pulled down more than five rebounds only once over that span.
BRIEFLYDurant sustained a slight ankle sprain in the first quarter against Chicago but played the rest of the game. He iced his right foot after the game and walked gingerly in the locker room. ... Nenad Krstic jammed his left ring finger in the second quarter but returned in the second half with a splint.