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OKC Thunder notebook: Coach Kevin Durant excels against the Spurs

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: January 9, 2012
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With all five Thunder starters seated on the bench the entire fourth quarter during Sunday night's convincing 108-96 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, two-time scoring champ Kevin Durant repeatedly was on his feet shouting encouragement to teammates and at one point motioned newly acquired Lazar Hayward over to share some advice.

The Thunder's biggest lead of the game (98-73) came with Durant serving as coach.

"He definitely has a career. He's going to be one of the few star players to ever make it in coaching," Thunder coach Scott Brooks joked. "I gave him my coaching notes just to make sure if he wanted to finish out the game. Kevin loves the game. There's so many things that we all see in Kevin every day and sometimes we take for granted, but I like the fact that players love other players to do well.

"I've been on a lot of teams where that wasn't the case, that you were hoping your teammate would miss so you can get in and play better than him. With Kevin, you will see him when he has a bad game – or when he has a good game – he's going to be up there cheering like the other guys on our team. Kevin is an incredible teammate."

ALREADY FORGOTTEN

Oh, how quickly fans forget.

Arguably the most competitive playoff series last season was the Thunder against the Memphis Grizzlies, which OKC won 4-3 to advance to the Western Conference Finals against Dallas.

The teams meet again Tuesday at 7 p.m. at FedExForum and NBA Fan Night balloting determined which game would be televised on NBA TV.

Alas, the Thunder-Grizzlies finished dead last with 9 percent of the votes and was not shown.

Fans instead chose Phoenix at the Los Angeles Lakers (29 percent), followed by Chicago at Minnesota (26 percent), Miami at Golden State (23 percent) and LA Clippers at Portland (13 percent).

JACKSON 'AW-IGHT'

Rookie Reggie Jackson made his first second-team appearance of the season Sunday night and solidified his spot with 11 points and four assists in 23-plus minutes.

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