The Thunder (5-2) faces a different kind of pressure in Monday's 6:30 p.m. contest on the road against the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons (0-7) have yet to win this season and will be playing only their second home game.
Monday's game closes out the season series between the teams and comes just three days after OKC defeated Detroit 105-94 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“It's definitely easier on our scouting and our coaches because we know what they've done,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We're not going out there and saying: ‘They're having a rough start. We're going to give them the game.'
“They're NBA players. It's an NBA team. They're going to be focused. They're going to want to win a game and eventually they're going to. We're going to go in there and try to play the best basketball we can and do it on a back-to-back.”
The Thunder's next home game is Wednesday night against Memphis, which manhandled the world champion Miami Heat 104-86 on Sunday night in Memphis.
As a player and coach, Byron Scott has been linked with some of the greatest point guards in the history of the game.
* From 1979-82 at Arizona State, he was backcourt mates with Lafayette “Fat” Lever, who went on to become a two-time NBA All-Star.
* From 1983-91 with the Los Angeles Lakers, Scott was teammates with the greatest to ever run the point in Magic Johnson.
* From 2001-03 as coach of the New Jersey Nets, Scott had Jason Kidd at point guard en route to winning two straight Eastern Conference titles.
* From 2005-09 as coach of the New Orleans Hornets, Scott enjoyed the services of Rookie of the Year Chris Paul, who helped Scott capture the 2007-08 NBA Coach of the Year honor.
* Now as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Scott is reaping the benefits of reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.
“I have no idea,” Scott said before Sunday night's 106-91 loss to the Thunder. “The Lord's blessed me being around them, playing with them and coaching them. That's all I can say. It's just kind of the luck of the draw. … It's a blessing.”
In NBA history, only five No. 1 overall picks have averaged 18 points and five assists their rookie season, and Scott is directly linked to two of them in Irving and Johnson — Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson and LeBron James are the others.
Scott would have been linked to three had James not taken his talents to South Beach six days after Scott was hired as Cavs' coach in July 2010.
Of the top six players in NBA career triple-doubles, Scott crossed paths with half of them in Johnson (138), Kidd (107) and Lever (43).
Sunday's food drive raised 5,000 pounds of food, enough for nearly 4,000 meals for OKC families for the Holidays. Homeland will match the offerings. The Governor's Food Drive helped kick off the Thunder's 2012 Holiday Assist. … Thunder guard Kevin Martin and Cleveland forward Omri Casspi were teammates in Sacramento. … OKC outscored the Cavs 46-30 in the paint and 31-18 in fast-break points, but the teams tied 8-8 in second-chance points. … Cleveland center Anderson Varejao entered the game averaging 14 points and 14 rebounds, but the Thunder held him to six points and eight rebounds. … Scott admitted defense is his team's primary shortcoming and it showed as OKC shot 54.8 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from 3-point range and 86.4 percent from the free-throw line. … The Thunder won despite having more turnovers (21) than assists (20) for the first time this season.
Brooks on Russell Westbrook's heroics that included making four straight 3-pointers to break the game open early in the fourth quarter: “He's one of the guys on our team who can make tough shots, and he can score in bunches, and he did that,” Brooks said. “He had three or four buckets in a row that were special. Not a lot of guys would take them and not a lot of guys can make them, but Russell has the ability to take big shots and he has no fear. That's what makes him one of the best in the league. He can attack and he's so determined.”
BY JOHN ROHDE