After Dallas’ 99-98 win over the Thunder Friday night in Dallas, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stopped Kevin Durant, told him he was incredibly talented, wished him luck and chided him about having more Twitter followers. "I’m a young guy just trying to find my way in this league,” Durant said. "I’ve got a long way to go. For him to stop me and tell me that it felt good.”
TURNOVER TROUBLESThe Thunder had 23 turnovers Saturday against Miami to match their season high. After posting a superb 3.64-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio the previous 16 games the past month, Russell Westbrook dished out 11 assists but also had seven turnovers. Backup point guard Eric Maynor then played most of the fourth quarter. "It was just the rhythm of the game,” said coach Scott Brooks. "We were up. We were building a lead. I was going to stay with (Maynor) as long as everything was under control. He did a great job of that in the fourth quarter.”
HOUSE HUNTING?When talking about his NBA autograph shoe collection, Durant said he won’t have a chance to display the shoes until he purchases a home. "They’re just in a box in my closet right now,” Durant said. "Once I figure out my house situation, and I buy a house out here, I’ll have a room for (the shoes) and set them up there.” Durant hasn’t committed to purchasing a home in Oklahoma City but said he might begin looking "either next summer or this summer.”
LATE ARRIVALThe Heat spent Friday night in a hotel in Houston after their win over the Rockets because fog prevented them from flying to Oklahoma City. They boarded a plane Saturday morning, arriving in OKC around noon. "It was tough,” said veteran guard Rafer Alston. "It reminded you of your days when you just started playing basketball when you were young. You’d rush to a game, get out of the car and run right out on the court.” The weirdest delay Alston has experienced? "Someone ran into the wing of the plane and the wing cracked,” Alston said. "We couldn’t fly and had to stay there until they could get us another plane.”
HIT THE ROADFollowing back-to-back 1-point losses, how important was it for the Thunder to collect a win before leaving today for a four-game road trip that starts Monday afternoon in Atlanta? "We played good basketball those two games that we lost,” Brooks said. "It was unfortunate. A bounce here or a bounce there, that’s the fine line between winning and losing in this league. I have nothing but great things to say about our effort these last three games.”
NATIONAL PUBThe Sporting News’ full-page topic this past week was centered on the needs for the Thunder to evolve into an elite contender in future years. Sports Illustrated is scheduled to write a story on Durant and the Thunder that most likely will run in this week’s issue. Chris Ballard of SI attended Friday’s game in Dallas after watching the Thunder play San Antonio Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
FAST BREAK...Through raffles and donations, the Thunder raised $15,000 Saturday night for the Haiti relief efforts... Dwyane Wade became Miami’s all-time assists leader... Brooks is giving players today off.