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K-Mart is no blue light special; Thunder gets nothing but quality play out of newcomer

Kevin Martin entered the game twice Sunday, and the Thunder outscored Cleveland each time. OKC was plus-25 on the scoreboard when Martin was on the floor.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 11, 2012

The Kevin Martin/James Harden comparisons aren't likely to end anytime soon, so no reason to fight it. In fact, here's another way K-Mart mimics Harden.

Things just go better for the Thunder when Martin is in the game.

Harden always brought a certain something to the court. Sometimes scoring, sometimes passing, sometimes just the feeling that all hands were on deck.

Now it's the same with Martin. The Thunder routed the Cavaliers 106-91 Sunday night downtown, and K-Mart entered the game only twice. Both times, the landscaped quickly improved for OKC.

The Cavs led 17-15 late first quarter when Martin replaced Kendrick Perkins. The Thunder outscored Cleveland 42-29 the rest of the half, with Martin on the court for all of it.

The Thunder led 67-60 late third quarter when Martin entered, this time for Serge Ibaka. OKC outscored Cleveland 37-25 over the next 14 minutes and gradually pulled away. That's a plus-25 on the scoreboard when Martin was on the floor.

“It's been a long time waiting to play on a team like this,” Martin said after what has become his typical Thunder game — 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, plus five rebounds and three assists. “Just a great group of guys from the organization to the players. Opportunities like this, you never know when you're going to get them so you have to take advantage.”

Martin said there's been no surprises. The Boomers have been exactly what they looked like to Martin from afar.

“From an outsider looking in, you could tell how tight they are and how great of a team,” K-Mart said. “So I wasn't expecting any surprises, and from the other side of the bench it is exactly what it is in this locker room.”

But the Harden trade gave the Thunder something a little unexpected. Martin is not the defensive sieve his reputation sported.

“He's got a lot of dog in him,” said Perk, who is not in the habit of tossing out unearned defensive platitudes. “On the defensive end … he's feisty. You think he's just a scorer, but he really gets down and dirty.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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