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OKC Thunder: Former coach George Karl views Thunder as favorite in the West

Oklahoman Published: February 27, 2014

Coinciding with Russell Westbrook’s return to the lineup, the Thunder has hit its roughest patch of the season.

Some are panicking. Don’t count former coach and current ESPN analyst George Karl among them.

“It happens a lot, when a great player comes back into a roster, it kind of confuses people,” Karl said on SportsCenter. “Coaches talk about confidence and chemistry all the time. These are words that are intangibles to the game of basketball, which are difficult to define. But this is what’s happening right now.”

Regardless, Karl said the Thunder remains the slight favorite in a loaded Western Conference.

“The defensive end is what’s scary to me,” Karl explained. “Giving up 114 a game, it might be in that period of the season where they are a little bit in a funk, a little bit sleepy. They have 20, 25 games to wake up. But I still think Oklahoma City is the best team in the Western Conference, (even if) they are not playing that way right now.”

Kevin Durant adds the hook shot

In Sunday’s game against the Clippers, during his ninth 40-point game of the season, Kevin Durant busted out his newest offensive move — the running hook.

It’s a move that immediately elicits flashbacks to Magic Johnson in the 1987 Finals, firing in a game-winner on the Boston Celtics.

But it’s something Durant has been working on over the past year. He even showed it off during the preseason, in an untelevised intrasquad scrimmage at a Moore High School, when he tossed one in over Andre Roberson.

But on Sunday, on a national stage, he finally brought it to the public, tossing one in over the outstretched arms of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

“Finally I hit one,” Durant said. “Just wished it could have been a swish. But I’ll take a make.”

Durant said the move is something he would feel comfortable using in the future, but it has to come within the flow of the game.

“That was a perfect time for me to bust it out,” Durant said. “If I would have laid it up, he would have blocked it. He’s a long athletic guy. I practice it all the time, it’s just a matter of me finding the right time to shoot it. Hopefully I bust it out again.”

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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