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Chalk up Thunder victory to refuse-to-lose defense in fourth quarter

Oklahoma City learned a lesson on Friday night, when it allowed the Lakers back into the game. The same thing was not going to happen against Indiana.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 9, 2012

Of course, the Pacers had some help on a couple of those misses, starting with that Westbrook block.

“Man, that's what he does,” Durant said. “Then he came back and got a steal on David West and then another steal.”

True enough. Westbrook followed his block with a steal, then forced George Hill to rush a 3-point attempt.

It spurred his teammates.

George had a shot blocked by Serge Ibaka. Ian Mahinmi was forced to take a tough runner that missed.

All the while, the Thunder offense was feeding off its defense. After Westbrook blocked Hibbert, he hit a jumper. After Westbrook stole the ball from West, he hit another jumper.

“We didn't want to be sluggish like the Lakers game where we had a lead and we kind of let them come back,” Westbrook said of the way Friday night's game vs. Los Angeles ended. “We learned from that.”

Thunder wingman Thabo Sefolosha said of Sunday night: “It was just basically refusing to let one slip away. For three quarters, we didn't play very good basketball. But at the end, we were able to pull it off.”

Brooks calls those late-game situations moments of truth. You either bow up and win, or you bow down and lose.

“We really have to lock in, all five guys,” Brooks said.

Before the game Sunday night, Brooks called the Pacers the best defensive team in the NBA.

Turns out, his guys can be pretty good, too.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
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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