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OKC Thunder: Scott Brooks will rest Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook against Bulls

Stars will not play so Brooks can evaluate the rest of the roster.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: October 22, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) tries to get around Denver's Danilo Gallinari (8) during the NBA preseason basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) tries to get around Denver's Danilo Gallinari (8) during the NBA preseason basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The defending Western Conference champion Thunder closes out the preseason Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest against the Dallas Mavericks at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

“We have to figure out who plays well with a certain group and go from there,” Brooks said. “We expect them to do very well. It doesn't matter who Chicago throws out there or who Dallas throws out (on the court). We just really want to focus on what we do and how we do it.”

Some of the more intriguing OKC combinations this preseason have involved power forward Serge Ibaka at center while playing alongside Perkins, Durant, Nick Collison or rookie Perry Jones III.

“Serge's ability to defend players now makes the decision a little easier than two or three years ago,” Brooks explained. “I think he can guard 4s and 5s. We have a different look when he's at the 5. We can switch more. He's just a unique athlete. With our traditional lineup with Perk (at center), we can also switch now that Perk has a good feel for what we do. I feel confident that either guy can guard either position.”

Whatever the combination, Brooks expects success.

“We have a good team,” Brooks said. “We have great choices to make. It's part of the tough decisions I have to make, to pick and choose who will finish games, who will play minutes, but we have some good choices. The guys have done a good job of developing their games to allow those choices to be tough.”


Thunder at Bulls

When: 7 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBA TV (Cox 256, HD Ch. 726)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

 Three things to know

* Former Thunder reserve Nate Robinson is averaging 12.8 points while starting at point guard in place of injured Derrick Rose.

* Former Thunder reserve Nazr Mohammed is averaging 9.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 20.0 minutes off the bench this preseason.

* The Bulls are 4-2 this preseason and have one game left, against Indiana on Friday night at the Notre Dame's Joyce Center.

Projected starters

Thunder (3-2)

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

G; Eric Maynor; 6-3;7.5;2.5;5.3

G; Thabo Sefolosha; 6-7;8.0;4.0;0.0

G; James Harden; 6-5;12.5;2.5;3.0

F; Serge Ibaka; 6-10;14.3;7.3;1.3-x

C; Kendrick Perkins; 6-10;4.0;4.0;2.0-x

 Bulls (4-2)

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

G; Nate Robinson; 5-9;12.8;2.5;4.0

G; Richard Hamilton; 6-7;15.3;3.3;1.3

F; Luol Deng; 6-9;9.0;2.7;1.3

F; Carlos Boozer; 6-9;7.8;5.0;0.8

C; Joakim Noah; 6-11;11.0;10.0;2.3

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