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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

Why?

First of all, Martin is playing like he used to play. Before coming to Oklahoma City, he was the primary scoring option for his team. Whether in Sacramento or Houston, he had to carry the scoring load, so he would do whatever it took to get points.

Slash. Drive. Create.

Since joining the Thunder, he's been tasked with being more of a spot-up shooter, especially when he's on the floor with Durant and Russell Westbrook. But with Westbrook out for the rest of the playoffs, Martin has gone back to his old ways, and it is working marvelously.

“Once you catch the ball, just be aggressive,” Martin said of his mindset. “Not only back door ‘em, but just be a threat when you do have the ball in your hands.”

In that 1-for-10 game against the Rockets, Martin had just two shot attempts in the paint.

Sunday afternoon, six of his 14 attempts were.

“He's back to himself,” Martin's dad said. “He's back to slashing, going to the hole, getting to the foul line. That's what he built his career on. I think he's getting more comfortable by going back to his old style of playing and getting out of that corner.”

While going back to his old style has helped Martin resurrect his game in these playoffs, so has his mental tenacity.

Martin received support from his teammates and even members of the Thunder front office staff. But at the end of the day, he had to stay strong between the ears. He had to will himself out of the abyss.

“He went through them stretches before. College. Sacramento. Houston,” his dad said. “He just knows he's a scorer. He tells himself that everyone has these games. Just keep shooting, and it'll come back to you.”

And it has.

That's made for one proud papa.

“Pleased to say the least,” Kevin Sr. said after watching the game in person Sunday afternoon. “Very pleased.”

Safe to say everyone in the Thunder looker room feels the same way.

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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