A night to remember at the Ford Center
Chris Foshee sat on Row 2 of the Ford Center Tuesday night with a big grin on his face. Two years ago, after the Hornets’ home finale in Oklahoma City, Foshee stood in the Ford Center and yelled at Clay Bennett. “Hey, Clay, get us a team!”
Clay Bennett indeed brought an NBA franchise back to Oklahoma City. The team was a little late in arriving. But piece by piece, bit by bit, the Thunder is looking more and more like a legitimate NBA ballclub, and Tuesday night brought news of one of the cornerstones.
The Thunder traded for center Tyson Chandler, giving Oklahoma City a defensive presence in the middle, where the Boomers have been gashed all season.
“He’s a young, big man that brings a defensive presence,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. “He’s an addition that fits with what we’re trying to do.” Yeah, like guarding opponents.
The Thunder is incredibly fun to watch. Fun, but exasperating, and you saw some of that Tuesday night, when the Hornets beat OKC 100-98, piling up a big lead on easy basket after easy basket. That kind of nonsense is expected to stop once Chandler returns from an ankle sprain.
“We need guys that really are committed to the defensive end,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Defense wins games. You have to be committed on defense.”
Back when he was an NBA journeyman point guard, Brooks played with the likes of Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon. So he knows intimidating big men when he sees them.
“They make perimeter players look like better defensive players,” Brooks said. “That’s who he is. He blocks shots, he alters shots, he gets rebounds. Acquiring guys with a defensive mentality is going to help us win games.”
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