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OKC Thunder opens longest homestand in franchise history flush with possibilities

The Oklahoma City Thunder opens a six-game home stand Friday against Charlotte. Before the time it leaves home again, Oklahoma City will have the chance to clinch a playoff berth, match last year's victory total and achieve the longest winning streak in franchise history.
By JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: March 17, 2011

The Oklahoma City Thunder doesn't have to leave town again until March 29, following its home game against Golden State.

By the time it boards a charter for Phoenix, here is what OKC possibly could have achieved:

* It could be riding a franchise-record 11-game winning streak.

* It could have clinched a playoff spot with nine games remaining.

* It could have reached the 50-win mark, matching last year's total.

* It could be 14-1 in March with one game left.

* It could be scaring the living daylights out of the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Starting with Friday's 7 p.m. contest against Charlotte inside Oklahoma City Arena, the Thunder begins a six-game homestand, the longest in franchise history.

Making the home stand particularly appealing is the opponents' combined record of 167-240 (.410).

Four have losing records: Charlotte (28-39), Toronto (18-49), Minnesota (17-52) and Golden State (30-38). Utah (36-33) is teetering on playoff extinction, having lost 20 of its last 29. Portland (38-29) will be the most formidable visitor, and OKC is 2-0 against the Trail Blazers this season.

Tonight will be the Thunder's sixth consecutive game against an Eastern Conference opponent. OKC remains unscathed to this point at 5-0 and is 21-6 against the East this season.

Thanks to freshly acquired centers Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed, the use of multiple frontcourt combinations and more defensive pressure being applied on the perimeter, the Thunder has been transformed and is in the midst of its third five-game winning streak of the season..

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Bobcats at Thunder

When: 7 Friday night

Where: Oklahoma City Arena (18,203)

TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM


* Former Thunder forward D.J. White, who was traded with Morris Peterson for center Nazr Mohammed, is averaging 20.7 minutes, 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.7 blocks for Charlotte.

* Former Oklahoma standout Eduardo Najera, 34, is in his 11th NBA season and the Bobcats are his sixth different team. He has 594 career games and has made 85 starts.

* In this year's previous meeting, OKC held the Bobcats to just three points in the first 9:09 of the final quarter and breezed to a 99-81 victory. Later that night, coach Larry Brown resigned.


Thunder (44-23)


G;Russell Westbrook;6-3;22.1;4.6;8.4

G;Thabo Sefolosha;6-7;5.0;4.7;1.4

F;Kevin Durant;6-9;28.1;7.2;2.8

F;Serge Ibaka;6-10;9.3;7.4;2.3-x

C;Kendrick Perkins;6-10;5.0;7.0;1.0

x-blocks per game

Bobcats (28-39)


G;D.J. Augustin;6-0;14.5;2.8;5.8

G;Gerald Henderson;6-4;8.1;2.8;1.2

G;Stephen Jackson;6-8;18.9;4.6;3.7

F;Boris Diaw;6-8;10.9;5.1;3.7

C;Kwame Brown;6-11;7.0;6.7;0.5


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