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Thunder: NBA trade deadline not a distraction

Although no deals are expected from the Thunder, the process can become a distraction.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 14, 2012
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The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 1 p.m. Denver time, roughly six hours before OKC faces the Nuggets at Pepsi Center.

The Thunder got busy at last season's Feb. 24 deadline, sending Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, cash and a 2012 first-round pick to the Boston Celtics for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, and also shipping D.J. White and Morris Peterson to Charlotte in exchange for Nazr Mohammed.

Though no deals are expected from the Thunder, the process can become a distraction.

“I don't get a sense that our guys are distracted,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said. “I don't talk about it and haven't heard the guys. We're focused on what we do and who we have, and we're pretty good. We want to just focus on our team and not worry about the outside noise. You can't (let it distract you), even if you're a guy who's been in that position where rumors were speculating around your name. You can't worry about it. You just play your game, do your best and hope for the best."

HISTORY REVISITED

When the Thunder and Nuggets last played on Feb. 19 in Chesapeake Energy Arena, the NBA record book gained a new entry as OKC's Kevin Durant scored a career-high 51 points, Russell Westbrook scored 40 and Serge Ibaka had a triple-double with 15 rebounds, 14 points and 11 blocked shots.

It marked the first time in NBA history a team has had three players on the same team score 50-plus, 40-plus and a triple-double in the same game. OKC came back from 14 points down midway through the second quarter and from nine down in the final eight minutes of regulation to post a 124-118 victory in overtime.

A breakdown of Ibaka's blocks: Ty Lawson (3), Corey Brewer (2), Arron Afflalo (2), Andre Miller (2), Al Harrington (1) and Timofey Mozgov (1).

Ibaka had eight blocks after halftime as Denver players continued to attack on the inside, almost daring Ibaka to try and block their shot, which he frequently did.

“That's what NBA players do,” Brooks said. “They're so competitive. They think they can challenge anybody in this league. that's what makes them be a player in this league, but it also at times hurts them and puts them on the bench if they don't realize, ‘This guy's blocking your shot every time and disrupting the game.' You have to be smart about it.”

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