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Thunder notebook: Defensive improvement

BY MIKE BALDWIN AND DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writers Published: November 1, 2009

It's only two games but the Thunder is third in field goal percentage defense (38.9), a dramatic improvement from last season (47.5) when Oklahoma City finished 27th.

"I'm very pleased with our effort the first two games," said coach Scott Brooks. "I know it's just two games. I know their best player (Richard Hamilton) was missing (Friday night). I know all that.

"I didn't panic when teams hit 3's (late in preseason). There are going to be games when teams get hot. It just happens. There are good shooters in this league. We just have to continue to focus on making players miss shots."

Westbrook's hot start

Russell Westbrook is third in the league in assists (11.5) behind Steve Nash (14.0) and Rajon Rondo (12.3). Westbrook had five turnovers in the win at Detroit but dished out 10 assists and has a 3.43-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio.

After the game, Westbrook's growing maturity was best summed up when he said he felt he needed to get Nenad Krstic going after the 7-footer didn't have a field goal attempt the first half. Krstic was 6-of-9 the second half to help the Thunder erase an eight-point deficit.

Collison improving

Nick Collison said his ankle is feeling better after an eight-point, eight-rebound outing in 16 minutes at Detroit. Collison was most pleased by the solid team effort.

"This was one of our better wins since I've been here in terms of holding a team off and being able to get stops when we need to in the fourth quarter," Collison said. "We never gave up that bad spurt where a team made a run on us. That's something we struggled with in the past."

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