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First game against Sixers boosted Thunder’s teamwork

John Rohde Modified: April 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm •  Published: January 4, 2013
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha prepares to shoot a 3-pointer that sealed OKC's 116-109 victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 24.
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha prepares to shoot a 3-pointer that sealed OKC's 116-109 victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 24.

In its previous meeting this season against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Thunder posted a 116-109 victory in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 24. The victory started what wound up being a 12-game winning streak for OKC, but the manner in which it beat the Sixers was particularly pleasing to Thunder coaches and players.

After managing just 13 points on 23.8-percent shooting in the fourth quarter, OKC exploded for 18 points in the five-minute overtime session. The Thunder took the lead for good on a Kevin Durant 3-pointer. Then sixth man Kevin Martin hit a 3. Then point guard Russell Westbrook hit a 3. Thabo Sefolosha sealed the deal by hitting a 3 with 51.9 seconds remaining to give OKC an eight-point advantage.

What was so pleasing for the Thunder, other than going 4 for 5 from 3-point range in overtime, was each basket came from a different player on a night when OKC had shot just 2 for 16 (.125) from 3-point range in regulation – Sefolosha and Martin were 0 for 4; Durant was 1 for 5; Westbrook was 1 for 3.

“We always believe in each other, first off,” Durant said. “We trust in each other. Thabo had missed a few. K-Mart had missed a few. I missed a few, and the team kept trusting each other and passing the ball, making the right plays no matter what, and we were able to make some shots. That’s the area where we’ve grown in and it shows the maturity of our team, that we continue to trust each other throughout the good and bad times. When guys are missing shots, that’s the hardest time to stay together. A guy has missed two or three shots in a row, you’re kind of iffy if you want to pass up another to get a better shot. That’s what we did that game and ever since we did, our assists have gone up and our assists have gone up a little bit more.”

The Thunder (24-7) closes out its season series against the Sixers (15-18) tonight at 7 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

- John Rohde

 

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