Asked after practice Friday what his plans would be if the Hornets defeated Memphis on Friday night, helping the Thunder clinch a playoff berth, Kevin Durant said: "Nothing. Go to sleep early, go to shootaround and be focused as soon as I wake up. Nothing changes.” So no celebration after clinching a playoff berth? "We’re 18 games above .500 with a good chance to make the playoffs,” Durant said. "We’re not going to celebrate just because we made it. Of course, that was a goal we wanted to reach. "If Memphis loses, we made it. It’s something in the back of my mind we’ll be happy about. But it’s all about working and getting better these last eight games.”
Scouting DallasThe Mavericks lost their first game after a deadline trade for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, a game the Thunder dominated in the Ford Center. After leaving OKC, the Mavs reeled off 13 consecutive wins but are 5-5 the past three weeks, including a lopsided 97-82 loss to Orlando at home Thursday night. "I still think they’re about as good as any team in the West,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It’s a tough game for us. They have that big guy who always gives us problems, that German guy. (Dirk Nowitzki) is good. He scores inside. He scores outside. He hits his free throws. The last game, we were somewhat decent on him. But for the most part, he’s been a thorn in our side.” Butler gives the Mavericks four standout players, joining Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. "They have so many options,” Brooks said. "They come off the bench with guys like J.J. (Barea) who gives them scoring. Jason Terry is as tough as anybody off the bench. Butler can score so many ways. We’ll have to play really good defense.”
Michigan State tiesPaul Rivers, the Thunder’s director of basketball administration and technology, worked two years as Michigan State’s video coordinator. Rivers declined comment Friday but was quoted on SI.com: "If you get better instead (of) fading come March, that’s a tribute to your preparation.” MSU coach Tom Izzo raved about the Spartans’ film library. As many as 13 student managers each season tape more than 1,800 games of 340 different teams to help the Spartans prepare for March Madness. "Paul is a great asset to our organization,” Brooks said. "There were plenty of times I talked to him about video work, more so when I was an assistant coach. The guy is knowledgeable in a lot of areas. He’s a very talented piece of our puzzle.”
Fast break...Boston All-Star Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for criticizing officials and using "improper” language for his comments after Wednesday’s loss to the Thunder. Garnett cursed when saying Durant was getting calls like Michael Jordan. Durant was 15-of-15 from the free-throw line that night. ... Team officials will recognize Jennifer Hiser of Checotah at Sunday’s game for the NBA Facebook page having 2 million fans. Heiser was randomly selected from the 2 million fans by the league.