Derek and Brooks were teammates in Philadelphia during Brooks' first two seasons in the league. The entire Smith family actually was in Brooks' wedding, with Nolan serving as ring bearer.
Brooks smiled when he learned Nolan was starting.
“I've known him all his life,” Brooks said of Nolan. “During my rookie year (in 1988, when Nolan was born) … he was still in diapers. He was a feisty little guy. I'm happy for all his success. I followed him through high school. I followed him through Duke and I'm following him every game here. I'm glad he's getting an opportunity.”
In the first half Sunday night against Miami, the Thunder shot 66.7 percent from the field. In the first half Tuesday against the Blazers, OKC shot 65.9 percent. … The Thunder (.797) and Portland (.792) entered the game as the league's top free-throw shooting teams. … Starting forward and part-time model Serga Ibaka will appear at a fashion show at Gaillardia Country Club on Friday to benefit Allied Arts.
The Thunder will have Wednesday off and plays at the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on TNT. OKC will then take Friday off before preparing for its Sunday noon contest at home against the Chicago Bulls.
Thunder reserve center Cole Aldrich on how Kansas will do in its national semifinal against Ohio State, where Cook played: “I think we're going to hurt them again.” KU beat OSU 78-67 earlier in the season in Lawrence, but the Buckeyes were without All-American Jared Sullinger.