Oklahoma City Thunder notebook: Kevin Martin credits health for hot start

Martin spent summer rehabilitating injured shoulder. He is averaging 18.4 points on 52.2 percent shooting for Oklahoma City.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: November 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012
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photo - Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) drives the lane between Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, left, and Serge Ibaka (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXA106
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) drives the lane between Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, left, and Serge Ibaka (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXA106

It's been no surprise to Kevin Martin that he's started this season with a hot hand.

After scoring 15 points on just five shots in Thursday's 97-91 win at Chicago, Martin is now averaging 18.4 points on 52.2 percent shooting. Martin made eight of nine free throws Thursday, making him 30-for-32 (93.8 percent) from the foul line through the first five games.

“Health,” Martin explained. “I feel healthy right now. Last year I was bothered with the shoulder. I put in a lot of hard work this summer. When I got to Houston (at the start of the season), it was great from day one and I'm just trying to carry it over right now to the Thunder.”

Martin sustained a tear in his right shoulder last season, an injury that plagued him for much of the year and caused his production to plummet well below his customary output.

ROUGH SHOOTING NIGHT FOR RUSSELL

Russell Westbrook never could find his rhythm against the Bulls.

After struggling with his shot throughout the game, Westbrook finished just 7-for-22 from the field and missed six of seven 3-point tries.

Westbrook scored 16 points with 12 assists and had just two turnovers in his 36 minutes.

It was a performance that continued a mystifying trend defined by Westbrook following one good game with one bad one. But Thunder coach Scott Brooks saw Thursday's outing differently.

“I thought he had just an all-around great game,” Brooks said. “He didn't shoot the ball well. But what Russell does is he plays hard; he fights through screens. He was really good defensively. He set a good screen to (allow) Kevin (Durant) to get open on the big 2 … I thought he had one of his best games.”

MORE THUNDER TURNOVERS

Once again, the Thunder had a game marred by a ton of turnovers.

OKC had 22 on Thursday night. They led to 19 Bulls points.

Durant's struggles with ball security continued for the fifth straight game, as he finished with six giveaways. He now has 26 through five games, a 5.2 average.

But the turnovers didn't torture the Thunder as much Thursday because Chicago had 21, which OKC turned into 20 points.

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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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