NO ROAD WIZARDRY FOR WASHINGTON (0-21)
The Washington Wizards enter today's 7 p.m. contest at Oklahoma City Arena having not yet won a road game (0-21) this season, which could be viewed as good news/bad news for the Thunder. OKC (29-16) faces the pressure of potentially becoming the first team to lose at home against the Wizards (13-31 overall).
“That means nothing,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of the 0-21 mark. “Their record has no bearing on how they'll play. We have to play the way we're capable of playing.”
TWO STARTERS AILING
Thunder starters Thabo Sefolosha (knee) and Nenad Krstic (foot) sat out Thursday's practice and are listed as day-to-day. They will be re-evaluated Friday at the morning shoot-around and during pre-game warmup.
If Sefolosha is unable to play, he will be replaced by James Harden. If Krstic is unavailable, he will be replaced by Serge Ibaka. The Thunder is 13-5 with Ibaka as a starter this season and 2-0 with Harden.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
The last three games have come down to the final shot for the Thunder, which escaped with a 2-1 record – beating New York on Kevin Durant's 25-footer at the buzzer last Saturday, losing with 0.5 seconds left at New Orleans on Monday and surviving two potential game-winning shots at Minnesota on Wednesday in an overtime victory.
“That's how you learn about yourself as a team, about yourself individually, when the game is on the line,” Brooks said. “The last three games have been really nerve-wracking, but exciting. That's what you play for as a player. All those guys on the floor love that moment.”
The Thunder is 4-0 in overtime.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is a candidate for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend at Staples Center.
For the first time, fans will determine the participants. The five-man field will consist of “Choose Your Squad” spokesman Chris Paul of New Orleans, plus four players determined by fan balloting.
Voting runs today through Feb. 14 at 10:59 p.m. at NBA.com/chooseyoursquad.
Fans choose among Westbrook, Stephen Curry (Golden State), Baron Davis (LA Clippers), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), Derek Fisher (LA Lakers), Tony Parker (San Antonio), Derrick Rose (Chicago) and John Wall (Washington).
The Thunder is 12-11 (.522) against teams above .500 right now, which leaves a 17-5 (.773) record against teams below .500, and eight of those victories have been by six points or less.
“There's definitely a lot of improvement that we need to make,” Brooks said. “We're still a team that's evolving and still has to figure out some things.”
RV TOUR VISIT
The “NBA on ESPN RV Tour” will be on site Sunday for the Thunder's home game at noon against Miami.
The RV will be parked outside the main arena entrance from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Activities include a tour of the RV, free throw contests, vertical jump challenges, souvenir photo stations, plus a 3-point shooting contest with the day's winner entered in a national pool. T-shirts, mini basketballs, backpacks and rally towels also will be given away.
200 TICKETS AVAILABLE
As usual, fans can secure single-game tickets before each home game by participating in the Thunder Reward Zone, where 25 pairs of complimentary tickets will be provided to fans chosen via lottery and another 75 pairs of tickets will be available for purchase at $10 each. The Rewards Zone begins three hours before tip-off outside the Oklahoma City Arena box office. The raffle drawing will be held one hour before tip.
When asked if a string of last-second games is exhausting to players, Brooks smiled and said: “Not really to players. The coach? Yeah.”