OKC Thunder notebook: Win against Dallas builds character

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 6, 2012
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Very little went right offensively for the Thunder on Monday night.

Oklahoma City's big three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden struggled with their shots, and the team connected on just 38 percent for the game.

Still, the Thunder found a way to steal a 95-91 win over Dallas and improve to 30-8.

“It's always good playing against the best team in basketball. They're one of the best teams,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “They've got some of the best closers in the game. It's always good to play against good teams that play hard and play smart and know how to finish games. That's how we've gotten better.

“I thought it was a great character-builder. We weren't shooting the ball very well. Nobody really had a good offensive game going. But defensively, it gave us a chance to hang in there.”

The Thunder held the Mavs to 3-for-13 shooting down the stretch and forced Dallas into missing its final four shots while turning it over twice in the final two minutes.

“We locked in and guarded and we made it tough for them by forcing them to take shots over a hand,” said forward Nick Collison. “In the fourth quarter, they got it going. (Jason) Terry got it going but then we were able to not give him so much space. Kendrick (Perkins) did a great job on a couple of pick and rolls and we were able to fix that problem. Dallas is a difficult team to play. They make you guard for the whole 24 seconds and that's tough to do.”

MORE PRAISE FOR PERK

A day later, Perkins was still receiving credit from coaches, teammates and even national analysts for the defensive job he did against Dallas down the stretch.

Perkins' two biggest plays came on switches onto Terry in the final minute. The Thunder's center stayed with the speedy sharpshooter and forced him into contested shots both times.

“He's one of our best defenders, and now he's showing that he can guard (power forwards). And he's doing a great job of switching out in late game situations on guards,” Brooks said. “He has long arms. He has toughness. His lateral quickness is good. We feel very confident that he can guard players in that situation. He did it against Philly also. He switched out on (Jodie) Meeks and (Jrue) Holiday and he did it against Orlando one time.”

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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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