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, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 17, 2011

Stretching the winning streak to 11 will be no easy feat, but the quest certainly seems reasonable given the circumstances. However, such futuristic matters never should be addressed with Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

OKC did not practice Thursday on the heels of Wednesday night's smothering 96-85 victory at Miami. Had Brooks been available for interviews, he no doubt would have bristled at any question looking past tonight's game against the Bobcats – and would expect his players to react the same.

Trouble is, the Thunder has looked too darn good lately to think only of Friday and not what lies ahead.

OKC clings to a 3½-game lead over Denver (41-27) for the top spot in the Northwest Division and the No. 4 seed in the West.

The Thunder also is just 3½ games behind the Mavericks and Lakers (both 48-20) for the No. 2 seed.

Before Perkins and Mohammed arrived with the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Thunder fans were looking in the rearview mirror to see who might be gaining.

Many of those fans are now staring straight ahead, anxious to pass the teams in front.

John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.



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

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

* 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.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Thunder (44-23)

Pos.;Player;Ht.;Pts.;Reb.;Ast

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)

Pos.;Player;Ht.;Pts.;Reb.;Ast

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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