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."
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).
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.
Jackson replaced Eric Maynor, who was lost for the season after injuring his right anterior cruciate ligament Saturday night at Houston.
Judging from the reaction of teammates, Jackson's solid debut wasn't much of a surprise.
"He did aw-ight .... Nah, I'm just kidding," Thunder reserve center Nazr Mohammed said. "He impressed me this summer when we got together and were just working out. I knew he's got all the skills. He's a good guy. He's a student of the game. He watches stuff and sees things, so I expected that out of him."
Mohammed played for the Spurs for 1½ seasons and won the 2005 world title with them. His teammates that year included Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
"It's definitely good to see those guys," Mohammed said. "I had some great experiences over there. It's strange, the coaching staff is pretty much still intact from when I left, besides P.J. (Carlesimo, now an assistant with the New Jersey Nets). It was great to say, 'What's up?' to them."
OFF TO THE RACES
OKC outscored the Spurs 37-21 in the third quarter and had a 13-0 advantage in fast-break points.
"One of our keys to the game was transition defense," San Antonio starting guard Gary Neal said. "In that third quarter, they got started with the transition with Russell (Westbrook) and before you knew it, it was an eight-point game and then it was a 14-point game and a 20-point game. It kind of got away from us."
Monday was a travel day to Memphis for the Thunder. OKC will have a late morning shoot-around Tuesday in preparation for the Grizzlies. The Thunder will fly to New Orleans afterward and face the Hornets at 7 p.m. Wednesday to close out a stretch of five games in six nights.