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Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Martin is looking like the old Kevin Martin again

On an afternoon Oklahoma City beat Memphis 93-91 in the first game of this Western Conference playoff series, Martin played like the guy the Thunder thought it was trading for last fall.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 5, 2013

Kevin Martin Sr. sends his son encouraging text messages all the time.

Keep your head up.

Just keep shooting.

But last Wednesday night with Thunder guard Kevin Martin mired in one of the worst games of his basketball career — a 1-of-10 night in a potential closeout playoff game at home — his dad scrapped routine.

“I told him I couldn't take no more and I was going to bed,” Martin Sr. said, laughing. “I sent that to him in the third quarter.”

To be fair, Martin Sr. had to get up for work the next morning at 4:30 a.m. Still, it's safe to say he won't be heading to bed early again any time soon.

His son has become must-see TV.

On an afternoon when Oklahoma City beat Memphis 93-91 in the first game of this Western Conference playoff series, Martin played like the guy that the Thunder thought it was trading for last fall. He scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He hit threes. He made drives. He got to the free-throw line.

“I'm very happy that he came in and had a good game offensively,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

Happy?

He should be doing cartwheels.

For the boys in blue to have any chance in this series against the Grizzlies and their stingy defense, Martin has got to be effective on the offensive end. He's got to shoot and score and do exactly what he did Sunday. Otherwise, the Grizzlies can focus on Kevin Durant and make the Thunder superstar's life miserable.

From that last series against the Rockets, we know how hard that can be to watch. And the Rockets weren't even all that good defensively.

Martin is key to this series.

“He's got confidence,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “We have to be more focused and build a scheme around what we're going to have to do with him.”

To think, Martin was nearly left for dead a few days ago.

After that 1-for-10 game against Houston, it looked like his confidence was shot. He was so devastated by his performance that he couldn't even look his teammates in the eye for the next couple days. That night could've crippled Martin for the rest of the playoffs.

But it didn't.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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