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Thunder ‘Headed in the right direction’

BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: December 2, 2008 at 5:26 am •  Published: December 2, 2008
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Now that a 14-game losing streak has ended, can the Thunder find its rhythm and take advantage of the schedule the next two months?

Opponents in December and January have a combined .491 winning percentage. The next two months, 12 games will be against Charlotte, Washington, Golden State, Memphis, New Jersey, Minnesota, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers.

In February and March, it gets much tougher. Nearly two thirds of Oklahoma City’s games will be against the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Suns, Jazz, Spurs, Pistons, Nuggets and Trailblazers.

"The guys have stuck together during some tough times,” said Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks. "The focus right now is to get better every day. It’s not going to be easy just because we got a win. We still have to improve.”

The losing streak was becoming an albatross. The win could help players relax.

"We all needed a win — players, coaches, fans, the organization,” Brooks said. "It felt good. But we have to put it behind us. We have to continue to get better at the things it will take to get more wins.”

In Saturday’s streak buster, the Thunder outscored the Grizzlies 14-3 down the stretch. That was a stark contrast to two losses earlier in the week when Phoenix rallied from a 16-point, second-half deficit. Oklahoma City also owned a lead with 15.7 seconds left against Minnesota before losing on a buzzer-beater.

"One win can lead to a lot of things,” said the Thunder’s Jeff Green. "It gives us a lot of confidence.