OKC Thunder: Thunder falls short again

BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: January 10, 2009
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6CNenad Krstic is expected to join the starting lineup later this month. Two games into his Thunder career, the 7-foot center already is playing pivotal fourth-quarter minutes.

Twenty-two turnovers, including seven by Kevin Durant, were key in Oklahoma City’s 98-96 loss to Houston in front of a sellout crowd Friday night at the Ford Center.

Durant scored a game-high 27 points but had two turnovers and missed a potential game-tying shot down the stretch. Other than the Thunder’s three young stars, Krstic was the only Thunder player to score in double figures.

"It’s amazing, the guy has been here only 10 days,” said coach Scott Brooks. "I feel, and our staff and team feel, like he’s been here (longer than that). That’s good to see. He’s going to get better.”

A little rusty following a three-week layoff, Krstic played 24 minutes.

"I didn’t hit a couple of shots when I was open,” Krstic said. "Most of the time I make those. I’m not worrying. It happens. Maybe it was my first game on the home court.”

Krstic had two blocked shots. He was one of four players who rotated defensively against Yao Ming. The Rockets’ 7-foot-6 star made only three field goals.

"Defensively he doesn’t get credit,” Brooks said of Krstic. "He was in good defensive position throughout the game. Quite frankly, that wasn’t something I was anticipating. He has special talents on the offensive end but defensively he’s going to help us.”



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