Oklahoma City Thunder notebook: Defense returns for Thunder

Coach Scott Brooks was particularly pleased with OKC's defensive intensity Thursday night in a 106-89 victory over Memphis.
By John Rohde Published: February 1, 2013

Thunder coach Scott Brooks was particularly pleased with his team's defensive intensity Thursday night in a 106-89 victory over Memphis at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Defense was a team aspect that appeared only in spurts during the team's six-game road trip it had just completed.

Memphis shot 34.7 percent from the field against OKC. However, if you take away the third quarter – when they scored 33 points and shot 56.0 percent – the Grizzlies managed just 56 points and shot 27.4 percent from the field the other three periods.

“We couldn't make no shots,” said Memphis All-Star power forward Zach Randolph, who was held scoreless in the first half (0 for 9 from the field) and finished 4 for 17 with nine points. “The double-team was packing in on the paint.”

OKC ranks third in the league in field-goal percentage defense (.430), third in opponent adjusted field-goal percentage (.474) and eighth in 3-point percentage defense (.347).

CROSSING THE LINE

Three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant (.910) and teammate Kevin Martin (.904) rank 1-2 in the NBA in free-throw percentage and apparently they're having some fun with their race.

With 2.2 seconds left in the first quarter, Martin missed the first of two free throws. Seated on the bench, Durant smiled at Martin and jokingly said, “Nice try.”

Martin smiled back.

Martin buried the second free throw and when the quarter ended, Durant walked out and greeted a still smiling Martin with a high-five.

HIP CHECK

Martin said he suffered a bruised left hip late in the first quarter after a collision with Memphis defender Chris Johnson.

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