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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC's second unit finally received ample playing time, hopes for more vs. Bulls

In addition to Oklahoma City getting a much-needed victory with a 108-88 triumph over Toronto, Thunder reserves finally got a chance to get acquainted for the first time this young season.
By John Rohde Published: November 7, 2012
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/articleid/3726503/1/pictures/1878027">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Martin (23) shoots the ball beside Toronto's Amir Johnson (15) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.  Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Oklahoma City won 108-88. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Martin (23) shoots the ball beside Toronto's Amir Johnson (15) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Oklahoma City won 108-88. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Collison remains solid and blends well with any teammate.

Tuesday's fourth quarter was hardly a masterpiece for Thunder reserves, who shot 35 percent (7 for 20) from the field and got outscored 25-23 by a Raptors lineup that included three starters for three-plus minutes.

It was more about spending time together than the execution itself.

“Better,” Collison said when asked how it went for the reserves. “Overall, our energy was much better tonight. I think our second unit was included in that. We played better and Hasheem played great, so we're coming along.”

Thabeet finally is with a team that believes in him and continues to impress his coaches and teammates with his determination and effort. He oozed confidence against Toronto, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds and not missing a shot (6 for 6 from the free-throw line; 2 for 2 from the field) before fouling out.

Jones, Reggie Jackson Jeremy Lamb and DeAndre Liggins appear headed for spot minutes, at best.

“It felt good to play together for a lot longer than normal,” Jones said after Tuesday's game. “You've got to credit the first unit for doing a great job on the defensive (end) to make that possible.”

The most difficult transition is for Maynor. In addition to coming off season-ending knee surgery, Maynor now returns to the point guard position while with the second unit, but frequently defers to Kevin Durant when they're on the court together.

Maynor has shown the ability to adapt to any role, but that adaptation takes time — particularly coming off a serious injury.

“I think it went great,” Martin said emphatically. “Any time we get on that court, we're going to just keep on jelling together.”

Through the first four games, Martin has jelled to the tune of 19.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds with ridiculous shooting percentages of .512 from the field, .619 from 3-point range and .957 from the free-throw line.


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