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Tuesday’s Practice Report

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm •  Published: December 22, 2008

* Nick Collison is day to day with a broken bone in his left thumb. Look for Chris Wilcox to get the start at center if Collison is unable to go. Johan Petro could be an option as well.

* Nenad Krstic has signed an offer sheet from the Thunder, and the New Jersey Nets now have until Tuesday, Dec. 30 to match or decline the reported three-year, $15.8 million contract. General manager Sam Presti declined to comment since Krstic’s rights are still held by the Nets. But Krstic, who was playing this season in Russia, could join the Thunder as early as Dec. 31 against Golden State.

* Sunday’s performance against Cleveland has given the team encouragement. The Thunder lost by 11 to a Cavs team that beat OKC by 35 three weeks ago. “We’re starting to turn things around,” said Kevin Durant. “I think that we’re playing hard and we’ve been executing well on the offensive end and everybody’s been getting involved. That’s only going to make us better.”

* Durant is quietly enjoying the best month of his young NBA career with averages of 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks. Add to that, he’s shooting 46.9 percent from the field, including 50.0 percent from three-point range while playing 40.8 minutes per game. He’s the only player in the league averaging at least 25 points, seven rebounds and shooting 50 percent from 3 this month. In any other situation, Durant would garner Player of the Month honors. But because of the Thunder’s one win in December, the award is likely a stretch. A shame.

“I’m making shots obviously,” Durant said. “I’m getting in better positions on the floor. I’m able to rebound and bring it up, too. My teammates are doing a good job of putting me in good positions to score. I think I’m closer to the basket, posting up and getting easy baskets there and getting to the free throw line as well. I just got to continue to keep it up and play well.”

One of the most glaring differences of Durant’s improvement has been his 3-point shooting. He shot just 28.8 percent from the arc last season. He’s currently at 47.3 percent from 3.

“Last year, I didn’t really shoot it too well from 3. Early in the year I shot too many last year. But this year I wanted to take the ones that were open and be able to knock them down. So this summer I worked a lot on my 3-point shooting and all aspects of my game. But I think that I’m getting open looks now and I’m able to knock them down.”

* And who can forget what Durant did the last time he went to Atlanta.

* Updating a previous post about Scott Brooks texting his players. Brooks’ message to Durant: “He told me last game that great players do it every night. That kind of stuck with me. He said I’ve been consistently trying to do it every night. I’ve just got to keep it up and keep going. He just told me that this is a tough time but always stay positive and keep my teammates up. I want to be a leader on this team. I call myself the captain. So I’ve got to keep everybody up and keep everybody together.”

* Durant on rookie Russell Westbrook: “It’s amazing how quick he learns things. The toughest position to learn on the fly is point guard. He’s doing a great job of that. You see he had a double-double last night with 11 assists and got everybody involved. That’s what a point guard needs to do. Only good things are ahead for Russell.”

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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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