Caron Butler went through his first Thunder practice on Monday. He’ll play in his first Thunder game on Tuesday.
Despite limited time to get comfortable, coach Scott Brooks is throwing the veteran into the fire, saying Butler could play anywhere from “one to 48” minutes against Philadelphia at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“He will be available tomorrow, definitely,” Brooks said. “He had a good practice today. We’re going to be able shorten up the package on both ends of the floor, to make him feel more comfortable going into tomorrow night.”
Butler had 38 points and 13 rebounds in a game against the Sixers earlier this season.
Among the many things gathered from Butler’s initial press conference were a couple of explanations about his various names.
James Caron Butler is his given name, but as an ode to his grandfather, who is named Caron, that’s what he prefers to be called.
And Butler’s nickname – “Tuff Juice” – was given to him for a simple reason.
“I had a fair share of injuries, one that kept me out of the Finals in 2011 with Dallas,” he said. “I ruptured my patella tendon. That’s just one of the things that stuck with me through injuries or whatever, I always find a way to overcome it.”
REGGIE PLAYING BETTER
After an extended stretch in the starting lineup, Reggie Jackson started the second half of the season back in his role of sixth man.
And he struggled a bit to readjust, scoring just 25 combined points in the first three games, going an inefficient 10-of-31 from the field.
But the past two games, as Russell Westbrook seems to be returning to form, so has Jackson.
In the two contests — both Thunder wins — Jackson has combined for 31 points on 12-of-26 shooting, while handing out six assists and committing only three turnovers. And he’s closed both games playing alongside Westbrook.
DURANT GROWING THROUGH STRUGGLES
Kevin Durant hit a rare rough patch on Sunday night against Charlotte.
After making five of his first six shots, Durant missed 14 straight. But to close out the game, Durant nailed three of his last five to help seal the Thunder win.
After the game, he was asked how he kept so confident through a rough stretch.
“Not think about it and keep shooting,” Durant said. “I get a lot of shots, man. There’s going to be nights when they feel like that and I started off pretty hot, felt good, then I tailed off a little bit...It’s just all about how I fight through it.”
But, Durant said, he wasn’t always like that. There was a time when a bad game would linger and affect his overall play.
“I think I’ve grown since two or three years ago where I have would have an attitude after missing a few shots,” Durant said. “I would get down, and it would affect my play. I just try to keep my head up and next time a shot comes through, try to knock it down.”
Durant, with a wry smile, on the atmosphere at the OSU-Kansas game: “Oh man, it was unbelievable...but nothing like a Texas game.”
DOWN ON THE FARM
Reggie Williams of the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s NBADL affiliate, was named Performer of the Week. The point guard averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals to help Tulsa win three games last week. ...Guard Mustafa Shakur was selected by the league as its Player of the Month. He helped the 66ers to an 8-2 record in February. Shakur averaged 20.4 points, 7.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 steals. He scored in double figures all 10 games.