Night and dayThe Thunder’s two games at the Target Center were extreme opposites. On a frigid Jan. 7 night, temperatures hovering near zero, Minnesota romped to a 42-point win. Ten weeks later, on a warm 62-degree day, Oklahoma City led by 32 points at one point en route to a 97-90 win. "It was good to get some revenge on them,” the Thunder’s Jeff Green said.
DEFENSIVE STREAKThe Thunder has won 12 consecutive games when holding opponents under 100 points. It’s been almost three months — a 98-96 loss to Houston on Jan. 9 — since Oklahoma City has lost when allowing less than 100 points. "The defensive effort was great. We held their big guys in check like we wanted to,” said Kevin Durant, referring to Randy Foye and Kevin Love and Mike Miller combining for 23 points. "We did a good job not giving up offensive rebounds and keeping their good shooters off the line.”
TURNOVER IMPROVEMENTOklahoma City scored 57 first-half points. The stat that jumped out was one turnover the first half, 10 for the game. "Offensively, it was some of our best basketball we’ve played almost all year in the first half,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "We had 15 assists with only one turnover.”
UCLA TIESRookies Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, teammates at UCLA, talked in pregame for around 15 minutes. Some thought the Sonics/Thunder might take Love. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti chose Westbrook with the No. 4 overall pick. "They got it right,” Love said. "It was a great pick. People don’t realize he’s really young and was supposed to be in the ’07 high school (senior) class. He’s long, athletic. I saw it all last year. I saw it all last summer. After the third pick, I turned to Russell and said, ‘You’re next.’ He said, ‘Nah.’ Russell was a great pick for them.” Love, selected fifth behind Westbrook, has recorded 23 double-doubles and is averaging 10.6 points and 9.0 rebounds.
FAST BREAKGreen was poked in the eye on a first-quarter dunk. The collision dazed Green for a few minutes, but he returned to score 17 points. ... Thabo Sefolosha is third in the league in steals (2.6) in March. ... Nenad Krstic has been playing with a sprained left wrist he suffered last week. ... Midwest City product Shelden Williams is seeing limited action with the Timberwolves, averaging 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds his last dozen games. BY MIKE BALDWIN