Thunder needed Kevin Martin to pull out of shooting slump

The Thunder's first man off the bench has been struggling from behind the arch. But Wednesday night at The Peake, Martin hit four of seven from long distance, and it's no coincidence that the Thunder had a resounding victory.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 9, 2013
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Kevin Martin watched his long-range shot drop through the hoop, and as he turned to run to the other end of the court, he threw back his head.

“Oh my gosh,” he mouthed.

He clapped his hands.

This is what a reprieve from a shooting slump looks like.

The Thunder's first man off the bench has been struggling from behind the arch. But Wednesday night at The Peake, Martin hit four of seven from long distance, and it's no coincidence that the Thunder had a resounding victory.

Thunder 106, Timberwolves 84.

“I've been shooting so good the whole year,” Martin said, “but (Kevin Durant) told me, ‘You're not going to shoot great the whole year. You're going to go through a little stretch.'

“That's what I feel like I've been doing.”

And it hasn't been fun.

Even though Martin has scored decently the past five games — he averaged 11.4 points over that stretch — the 3-point line was not kind.

At Washington: 0 of 6.

At Toronto: 1 of 6.

Against Philadelphia: 4 of 4.

Against Brooklyn: 3 of 8.

Against Phoenix: 1 of 6.

Those bad shooting nights for Martin haven't always spelled defeat for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 3-2 in those past five games, but most notable in that loss to the Wizards on a night that Martin hit none of his 3-point attempts.

He felt like the slump might be behind him after that game against the Sixers.

“But I guess it snuck in my suitcase and went to Toronto and Washington,” Martin said.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks has been getting in Martin's ear to remind him that slumps always end.

“Don't worry about the last one; you only have to focus on the next one,” the coach told him. “You put your time in. Sooner or later, your shots are going to fall.”

That sounds good. Sounds right, too. But when your shots aren't falling, everything about the slump is difficult to hear.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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