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Jeff Green’s defense will be a key for the Thunder

By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, Modified: March 19, 2010 at 9:03 am •  Published: March 19, 2010

o nights after that, Landry dumped in 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting to go with eight rebounds for the Kings. And on March 10, the Hornets’ West started the game 6-for-6 against Green before finishing with a game-high 33 points.

"It’s just me putting myself in bad positions and not being physically ready,” said Green, refusing to concede any opposing player was stronger, bigger or better.

"You have to learn from it. You can’t look back on it too much. You have to take what happened in those games and move on and just take the positives from it.”

Green figures to be the most significant player because the Thunder’s frontcourt play has long been the team’s glaring and greatest deficiency — even though the combined play of Green, Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka has performed better than expected this season. When the playoffs roll around, the Thunder is likely to be matched up against Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Denver’s Anthony and perhaps Kenyon Martin if healthy or Utah’s Carlos Boozer, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Thunder on Sunday.

"All of our guys have to get better,” Brooks said. "I challenge them every day...Man-to-man is always the number one part of any team’s defense. You’ve got to be able to stop the ball and control the ball. That’s the hardest things to do in this league because there are some talented guys, some gifted and skilled players.

"(Jeff) has improved a lot in his three years now. He’s a young talented player that’s going to get better every year. He works hard, and he’s going to improve.”

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