The opener against the Spurs is a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals, which the Thunder won 4-2 after falling behind 2-0.
Since then, many have proclaimed the Thunder vs. Spurs as the new top rivalry in the West.
“I don't get into that, because if you do you put more emphasis on (beating) one team,” Brooks said. “You have to have 29 rivalries. You have to really believe that. If you don't, it sends a mixed message to the players that this game is more important than other games. From a fan's perspective, I'm sure you can say that (it's a rivalry with the Spurs) because they've won so many championships, the (Los Angeles) Lakers have won so many champions and Dallas would be in there. There are so many intriguing matchups, it's hard just to pinpoint one.”
66ERS NAME COACH
The 66ers named Darko Rajakovic (Rahj-a-KOE-vich) as their head coach. A Serbian native, the 33-year-old Rajakovic becomes the first head coach in D-League history born outside of North America.
“We value his diverse basketball background and embrace the European influence that he will have on our development program in Tulsa,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said.
Rajakovic spent the past three years as coach of the Espacio Torrelodones in the Spanish EBA League. He began his coaching career at 16 years old with BC Borac Cacak (Serbia) as the youngest coach in the team's history. At age 19, he joined Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) to coach the Under-20 and Under-18 teams.
Rajakovic speaks Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian languages as native, but is also fluent in English, Spanish and basic Greek.
Orton when asked if he learned a lesson in adversity after being waived by OKC: “I've learned my adversity lessons more so than anything long ago. That (getting waived) wasn't really a lesson. It was something that happens and you have to deal with it.”
BY JOHN ROHDE