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OKC Thunder hits the road, where it's been successful

NBA — OKC has best overall record and best road record in the NBA this season
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: January 26, 2012

OKC could have picked easier places to play during this road stretch. Every stop except Sacramento on Feb. 9 figures to be a sellout. Six of the eight games will be inside arenas that rank in the top 10 in home attendance this season.

The Thunder will play at Golden State twice in 12 days. The Warriors have some of the league's most passionate fans and an average home crowd of 18,791.

Monday's stop will be at the Los Angeles Clippers (19,287), who so far are averaging more fans inside the Staples Center than the Lakers (18,997).

Other stops are at Dallas (20,205), San Antonio (18,073), Portland (20,437) and Utah (19,307). By comparison, The Peake seats 18,203.

"You just have to stay focused," said Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who entered the league straight out of high school nine years ago when he was drafted at the age of 18. "Our defensive energy has been crazy lately. We have to keep it up. The way we play at home, we have to start taking it on the road."

OKC will have the luxury of playing six of seven games at home heading into All-Star Weekend.

There's a good chance the Thunder will be able to take a breather during the break with good vibrations. Success during these next eight road games would supply even better vibes.

"If we come in with a defensive mindset like we've been doing throughout the season, it's going to be kind of hard to beat us, regardless of home or away," Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook said.

BEST ROAD RECORDS

(2009-12)

TEAM - 2009-10 - 2010-11 - 2011-12 - TOTAL

Dallas - 27-14 - 28-13 - 4-5 - 59-32 (.648)

Miami - 23-18 - 28-13 - 6-3 - 57-34 (.626)

OKC - 23-18 - 25-16 - 7-2 - 55-36 (.604)

Orlando - 25-16 - 23-18 - 6-3 - 54-37 (.593)

Boston - 26-15 - 23-18 - 3-4 - 52-37 (.584)

LA Lakers - 23-18 - 27-14 - 1-6 - 51-38 (.573)

Chicago - 17-24 - 26-15 - 8-3 - 51-42 (.548)


THUNDER AT WARRIORS

When: 9:30 p.m., Friday

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.

TV: NBA TV (Cox 256, HD Ch. 726); FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* After missing eight games with a recurring right ankle sprain, Warriors guard Stephan Curry erupted for 32 points against Portland in his third game back.

* Golden State started out 0-6 against Western Conference opponents, but Wednesday night's 101-93 victory against the Trail Blazers ended the streak.

* Former Thunder reserve guard Nate Robinson signed with the Warriors on Jan. 4 after being waived by OKC and is averaging 11.0 points and 5.0 assists.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Thunder (15-3)

Pos.; Player; Ht.; Pts.; Reb.; Ast.

G; Russell Westbrook; 6-3; 20.4; 4.7; 5.6

G; Thabo Sefolosha; 6-7; 5.3; 2.8; 0.9

F;Kevin Durant; 6-9; 25.7; 7.2; 3.3

F; Serge Ibaka; 6-10; 7.1; 6.4; 2.6-x

C;Kendrick Perkins; 6-10; 4.9; 5.8; 1.2-x

Warriors (6-11)

Pos.; Player; Ht.; Pts.; Reb.; Ast.

G; Monta Ellis; 6-3; 21.9; 2.9; 7.2

G; Stephen Curry; 6-3; 17.3; 4.4; 5.4

F; Dorell Wright; 6-9; 9.5; 4.7; 1.5

F; David Lee; 6-9; 18.8; 10.4; 2.3

C; Andris Biedrins; 7-0; 3.1; 5.1; 1.1-x

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