OKC Thunder loses for first time on New Year's Eve

by Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater Published: December 31, 2013

At 3-29, the Thunder entered New Year's Eve 2008 struggling, with easily the worst record in the league.

But a surprising 107-100 win at home over the Warriors jump-started a franchise and kick-started a holiday tradition.

“That was actually a turning point of that season,” coach Scott Brooks said of that game. “We had a really good January (after that).”

And since then, the Thunder has continued to play on New Year's Eve every season, going 5-1 on the holiday, with the only loss coming on Tuesday night to Portland.

“I like playing on Christmas and I like playing on New Years,” Brooks said. “Christmas because it means you're probably one of the better teams in the league and New Years, we've had a great tradition here. Hopefully we can continue to get that game.”


If the leadership of the Portland Trail Blazers looked familiar Tuesday night, that's because it is.

 No team has hired away more employees of the Thunder organization than the Blazers.

 Since the Thunder arrived in Oklahoma City, the Blazers have hired six members of the Thunder's staff, ranging from coaches to front office executives.

Portland first plucked former Thunder assistant general manager Rich Cho, naming him general manager in 2010. Cho has since moved on to Charlotte.

 From there, the Blazers hired former Thunder front office executive Bill Branch to serve as the team's assistant general manager, David Vanterpool, another former Thunder front office executive, is now a Blazers assistant coach, and Nate Tibbetts and Dale Osborne, two former head coaches of the Thunder-owned Tulsa 66ers, also are on Portland head coach Terry Stotts' staff as assistants.

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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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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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