Thunder notebook: OKC cutting down turnovers

Russell Westbrook: “It's something we struggled with early in the year. But in order for us to win in the playoffs, we're going to definitely have to cut that down and we've been doing that.”
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, RYAN ABER AND JENNI CARLSON, Staff Writers Published: April 1, 2012

The Thunder continued an impressive trend Sunday of taking care of the basketball.

It might sound elementary, but it's been one of Oklahoma City's biggest problem areas all year.

Against the Bulls, though, the Thunder finished with just 12 turnovers. Seven of those came in the fourth quarter, when the game was well in hand and no starter for either team needed to play a single second.

“It's something we struggled with early in the year,” said Russell Westbrook. “But in order for us to win in the playoffs, we're going to definitely have to cut that down and we've been doing that.”

The Thunder has been last or second to last in turnovers for much of the season. But since March 1, the Thunder has averaged just 15.1 turnovers, right around the number that Brooks is comfortable with.

“It's always in the back of my mind,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of the turnovers. “It's important that we continue to take care of the ball and make simple plays. I think it's improving. I'm not going to say we solved that mystery. But it seems like now it's one guy instead of multiple guys turning it over in a game. And it's not the same guy. Every game, they switch. It's almost like they're relay racers. ‘It's your turn to turn it over tonight.'

CHEEKS MISSES HALL

Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks will not be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this season.

Cheeks was a finalist for the second consecutive season.

The class will be officially announced Monday in New Orleans, with the enshrinement ceremony Sept. 7.

When Cheeks retired, he was the NBA's all-time leader in steals and was fifth in assists. He was picked for four All-Star Games, five all-defensive teams and helped his team to three NBA Finals and a world championship.

DURANT RAISES SIX FIGURES FOR CHARITY

In his inaugural “KD35 Ball” on Saturday night that officially launched the Kevin Durant Family Foundation, Durant raised $300,000 for charity.

Several autographed pieces of memorabilia were available in a silent auction, as well as evenings with various Thunder players. A dinner date with James Harden went for $32,000.



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