Thunder needed Kevin Martin to pull out of shooting slump

The Thunder's first man off the bench has been struggling from behind the arch. But Wednesday night at The Peake, Martin hit four of seven from long distance, and it's no coincidence that the Thunder had a resounding victory.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 9, 2013
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“It sucks when you go through stretches like this,” Martin said.

A big part of the equation is Martin adjusting to a new role in Oklahoma City. When he was in Sacramento, then in Houston, he was a scorer. The scorer, actually. Those teams needed him to put points on the board any way possible. Jumpers. Drives. Threes. Free-throws. As long as he scored, that was all that mattered.

Now with the Thunder, he still has to play the scorer role when he's on the floor with the reserves. He has to do a little bit of everything when he's out there with Nick Collison, Reggie Jackson and Co.

But when he's on the floor with Durant and Russell Westbrook, primarily in crunch time in the fourth quarter, his job is to a spot-up shooter. That change is born out in his stats. Where he used to take about a third of his shots from behind the 3-point line, now he takes nearly half of his shots from there.

“That's a big part of what we need him to do,” Brooks said of Martin's long-distance shooting. “We have got some terrific penetrators that have to be able to find open shooters when they do come off help.”

That puts more pressure on Martin to shoot it well.

He filled the role so well early when the Thunder got off to such a hot start. Perhaps after Monday night, a night in which he was 4 of 7 from behind the 3-point line and scored 19 points, he's ready to be that knock-down, dead-eye shooter again.

“It's about grinding it out and just staying with it,” he said, “and hopefully they fall.”

The Thunder hopes the same.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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