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Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder will not use long road trip as an excuse for mediocrity

Coach Scott Brooks: “It was a long road trip, but everybody has the same amount of road games. It's not like we're the only team that had a long road trip.”
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 28, 2013

photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) talks with head coach Scott Brooks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) ORG XMIT: OAS104
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) talks with head coach Scott Brooks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) ORG XMIT: OAS104

For all that Thunder players have experienced already in their short time in the NBA, a long and grueling road trip really has not been one of them.

Until this past week.

The Thunder returned home Sunday after a 105-96 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, a disappointing defeat that dropped Oklahoma City to 3-3 on its six-game trip.

It was the longest road trip in the Thunder's brief history, an 11-day odyssey that covered more than 3,500 miles and, quite frankly, was mired in mediocrity.

No one in the Thunder's traveling party wanted to publicly concede that the journey played a role in the subpar performances. And maybe it didn't. But because Oklahoma City is centrally located, and no event annually takes over Chesapeake Energy Arena for a long stretch during the season, the Thunder hasn't had to adjust to being away from home for as long as it was last week.

Last year's lockout-shortened season scheduled the Thunder for two five-game trips. OKC went 3-2 on both. In each of the first three seasons of the franchise's existence, the longest road trips were just four games.

That's a stark contrast to teams like San Antonio, Chicago, the Clippers and Lakers, all of whom annually must vacate their home buildings for seven, eight or even nine games to make way for the rodeo, circus or Grammys.

“It was a long road trip, but everybody has the same amount of road games. It's not like we're the only team that had a long road trip,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, starting a no-excuse mentality from the top. “It's over.”

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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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