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Thunder notebook: OKC having success against the league's best teams

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: January 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm •  Published: January 14, 2011

After Thursday's win over Orlando, the Thunder is 5-6 against six of the league's other top eight teams: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando and San Antonio. The only team in that group that the Thunder has yet to beat is the Spurs, who are 2-0 against the Thunder.

The Thunder also is a combined 4-1 against Denver, New Orleans and Utah. All nine teams are at least six games above .500.

“We're going to battle,” said Jeff Green. “From the tip until the end of the game. We've seen that all season, and we're going to continue to play that way.”

The victory over the Magic was considered one of the year's best. Forward Nick Collison said it could spark a turnaround for the Thunder, which has struggled with poor stretches on both ends of the court and is now gearing up for a road trip to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday and the Nuggets on Wednesday.

“Things change quickly,” Collison said. “I think we feel a lot better about (Thursday) night than the games before. It seemed like we competed (Thursday). We were doing a lot of smart things.”

Collison singled out two specific small things from Thursday night. Kevin Durant quickly took the blame for a foul when Serge Ibaka had four, and Eric Maynor delivered a hard foul on Dwight Howard to prevent a dunk and send him to the foul line.

“When we're locked in like that everybody is in tune to what's going on in the game and we're tough to beat,” Collison said. “We haven't seen that at all times this year. Hopefully we can get back to it.”

IBAKA PRACTICES DUNKS

At the conclusion of Friday's practice, Ibaka practiced a few trick dunks with half the team standing and watching and offering up suggestions.

When a cameraman from a local news station filmed nearby, Thunder players ordered him to turn off his camera so Ibaka's dunks wouldn't be leaked prior to next month's dunk contest.

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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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