Ten-year-old Nolia Sweatt sang the national anthem before Sunday's game. Whenever someone so young faces such pregame pressure, it's hard not to think of Thunder assistant and former Portland coach Maurice Cheeks coming to the rescue of 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert when she forgot the words and sang alongside her in the Rose Garden on April 25, 2003.
There was no need for Cheeks to accompany Sweatt, who nailed it.
Sweatt had been there before. She also sang at age 8 before the Thunder's home game against Boston on Nov. 7, 2010.
OKC shot 20 for 22 (. 909) from the free-throw line. This came after shooting 23 for 32 (. 719) at the line against Portland on Sunday. … Serge Ibaka, who entered the game shooting just 27.8 percent from the field, went 6 for 9 against the Hawks. … Russell Westbrook suffered a left shoulder contusion in the first quarter and received a heat treatment while on the bench. … Atlanta had a 16-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Durant entered Sunday's game as the NBA's leading rebounder at 15.5 per game. Brooks claimed Durant stole three rebounds away from teammates against Portland on Friday. Collison confirmed such was the case before Sunday's game against Atlanta and playfully said: “He's been doing that for four years now. Nothing I can do about it. He's just more talented and taller than I am. That's all. Yeah, he did (steal one of my rebounds). I'm over it.”
BY JOHN ROHDE