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Nuggets from my notebook from Tuesday's win at Sacramento

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 9, 2014

Pretty good performance by the Thunder…

  • Of course, you have to take everything into account. Sacramento simply isn’t very good. Plenty of talent. But the Kings just can’t seem to put it all together. And on this night, they were down three starters. So the Thunder’s defense should have been significantly better than anything we’ve seen over the last few days (weeks?). But with that said, the Thunder still had to perform. And it did. Rather impressively.
  • The finish was fantastic. OKC held Sacramento scoreless for the first six minutes of the fourth, blew the game open and kept the starters on the bench.
  • “I thought our bench group was great,” said Nick Collison. “It was big to be able to come in and increase the lead and put the game away instead of making it a fourth-quarter game. I think that was really big for us. We needed that.”
  • A byproduct of the bench playing so well was Kevin Durant finishing with 23 points in only three quarters of work. His 41-game streak of at least 25 points came to an end as the third longest in NBA history. Durant after the game didn’t seem to care one bit. “When I sit back after the season’s over, that’s when I’ll reflect on everything, what I’ve done, what the team’s done,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll appreciate it then, but now I’m just focusing on game to game and how we can get better as a group and how I can help the team get better. I was getting so many texts after every game, I’m glad that’s over with. I can just focus on the team. If we played well and I had 25 points, that would take away from how well the team was playing so I didn’t like that. If we lost, it was all about me scoring 25 points. I didn’t like that either. I’m glad we can just talk about the team now.”
  • Asked if he was aware of where he stood during the game, Durant said “I was so lost in the game and cheering for my teammates and just taking what the defense gives me I really wasn’t worried about it. I didn’t care. The way our second unit came out to start the fourth, that was phenomenal basketball right there. That’s all I was worried about.”
  • Pressed more on the matter, Durant added “I know how many points I have, but I wasn’t worried about the streak at all. I was aware. But that was the last thing I was worried about. I mean, it’s cool to do. But it’s over with. I’m glad it is.”
  • Asked how difficult the streak was, Durant said “It wasn’t difficult. It was just taking away from the team. I think sometimes it was a little bit more of a distraction to the team…I don’t like all the attention on me when it’s a team game. So I’m glad it’s over.”
  • Brooks echoing Durant: “He’s about team. If he wasn’t, he would have played golf and tried to chase (Jack) Nicklaus’ record of 18 Majors.”
  • Line of the night then came from a member of the Sacramento media: “Lucky for Jack.”
  • More from Brooks on the streak: “Kevin hit the nail on the head last week. There’s no record. I mean, the record is 80. The league started in, like, ’46, not the class of ’84. No disrespect to all the other guys but the record’s 80. Wilt Chamberlain’s one of the greatest players ever. He has the record of having consistency.”
  • Caron Butler matched his best scoring output in a Thunder uniform with 23 points. He made all six of his 3-pointers and eight of his 10 shots. I hear he was in the gym at 10 p.m. last night getting up shots.
  • Zero first-half turnovers by the Thunder. That’s never happened in the OKC era. The Thunder finished with six.
  • Steven Adams had a bunch of impressive hustle plays. Blocked shots. A steal and some deflections. Some tie-ups. Solid game.
  • The Kings went to the Hack-A-Funaki strategy late in the second quarter. Adams went 2-for-4 in those situations.
  • Biggest beef with the Thunder’s D tonight was 22 second-chance points.
  • I’m absolutely fascinated every time Isaiah Thomas walks by me before the game. He did tonight early in the game in street clothes. He was standing right next to me and I didn’t even know it. When I did see him, it took me a while to realize “Oh, that’s one of the baddest little dudes in the game.”
  • Thabo Sefolosha made his return tonight. He was solid. Brooks was non-committal about whether he’d play Wednesday against the Clippers.
  • The Thunder is now 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers entering Wednesday’s showdown. This one gave OKC a little breathing room. But Wednesday is still a big game.
  • Up next: at the Clippers on Wednesday.

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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