Oklahoma City Thunder heads to Houston for James Harden reunion Part 2

THUNDER NOTEBOOK — Oklahoma City is braced for a track meet Friday when it meets its former sixth man for the second time since James Harden was traded to Houston.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 28, 2012
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photo - Houston's James Harden and Oklahoma City 's Serge Ibaka shake hands in shoot-around during the NBA basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Okla.   Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Houston's James Harden and Oklahoma City 's Serge Ibaka shake hands in shoot-around during the NBA basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

“He's been on a rebounding tear the last (few) games. When he plays like that, aggressive on the glass, it seems to open up the other parts of his game and also the rest of the guys' games.”

BROOKS EXPLAINS HOW WESTBROOK TURNED IT ON LATE

Russell Westbrook's final 10 minutes Thursday against Dallas atoned for his horrendous play in his first 30.

His defensive intensity led to three game-changing steals and resulted in fast break baskets at the other end. After struggling with his shot throughout much of the game, Westbrook carried the Thunder in overtime by scoring eight of his 16 points in the extra period.

Where was that effort all game?

“Russell did a good job in that fourth quarter and overtime,” Brooks said. “And you can say ‘Well, why doesn't he do that for 48 minutes?' It's impossible to do that for 48 minutes. Nobody does. But what he did (Thursday) night in the fourth quarter was really special because it gave us a chance. Those steals and those easy opportunities in transition were a big part of the win.”

TIP-INS

* Brooks said Westbrook's sore left wrist likely will be problematic for a while. Westbrook injured his wrist in a home game against San Antonio and since has played with it taped. Brooks also revealed that Westbrook is battling a sore knee.

* Kevin Durant posted a message to his Twitter account following Thursday's game that read: “I love Chesapeake Arena, best fans in sports.”

* The Thunder's 111-105 overtime victory over Dallas was its 11th straight home victory, the longest current home winning streak in the NBA.

* The Thunder is 11-3 when Westbrook and Durant both score at least 20 points.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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