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Thunder Notebook: Gaining respect from opponents

Oklahoman Modified: February 23, 2009 at 5:36 am •  Published: February 23, 2009
Despite its mounting losses, Oklahoma City is earning more and more respect from opponents.

Golden State on Saturday night became the latest team to walk away impressed with the Thunder, particularly the team’s young trio of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.

"They are gonna be special,” said Stephen Jackson. "They have a good team. I think the nucleus of those three guys is going to be special, and they are getting better and better every game. I think Durant is playing like one of the best players in the league right now with the scoring he’s been doing. I’m excited to see what they may do.”

Said forward Corey Maggette: "Unbelievable. I’m just going to say it like this, they need one more piece and that will be a team to be reckoned with. Hopefully, they can make some good decisions to keep those guys together. If they stay hungry, that is going to be a good team.”

Durant has scored at least 30 points in eight of nine games this month and is averaging 26.2 points, ranking fourth in the league. Thunder coach Scott Brooks, however, said he’s not surprised by Durant’s production even though Durant is only 20 years old and in just his second NBA season.

"I knew just from being around him in the summertime in D.C., and Orlando that he was going to improve because I saw the effort,” Brooks said. "You get better in those five months of the off-season, and he took advantage of those five months.”

Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha has a slight advantage in adjusting to his new team.

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