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Analyzing the Thunder through the season's first quarter

Twenty-one games in, and OKC is on pace for 55 wins.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: December 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm •  Published: December 5, 2010

The Oklahoma City Thunder officially made it through the first quarter of the season following Sunday night's 114-109 home win over Golden State.

And though there has been plenty of ups and downs through these first 21 games, a 14-7 record puts the Thunder on pace to finish with 55 wins.

“I feel good at this point,” said Kevin Durant. “We've got to tighten up some things on both sides, of course. But winning is the name of the game. We're finding ways to win. That's what good teams do no matter what.”

Oklahoma City is now 11-1 in games decided by seven points or less. The Thunder starts a three-game road trip at Chicago on Monday with a 7-2 road record. Those two stats, perhaps more than anything, tell the story of a tough-minded, playoff team.

“We're doing a lot of good things,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

As always, though, Brooks wants improved defense.

The Thunder has allowed 103.6 points per game and 47 percent shooting from the field. Both figures rank in the bottom third in the league.

“We still have to improve our defense and get that field-goal percentage down,” Brooks said. “That's something that we're aware of.”

Brooks, however, said he has been pleased with his team's fourth-quarter defense. Before allowing the Warriors to score 39 points in the final period, the Thunder had allowed just a 23.9-point average in fourth quarters, the lowest of any regulation period.

The Thunder also has become much better at taking care of the basketball. After leading the league in giveaways at 16.2 per game two seasons ago, and tying for fourth-to-last at 15 per game last season, OKC has cut down its turnovers to 13.9 thus far in 2010-11.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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