Thunder notebook: James Harden looking for more offense; Shane Battier says OKC crowd classy

James Harden had just five points in the Thunder's Game 1. He says he needs to be more aggressive going forward.
by Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey and Gina Mizell Published: June 13, 2012

That's what Molly O'Connor had in mind when the director of cultural development at the Oklahoma Arts Council asked Marsee to contribute a chalk drawing to Live on the Plaza last Friday.

On the sidewalk outside of the Lyric Theatre late Friday afternoon, Marsee began his take on Sandro Botticelli's 1486 epic “The Birth of Venus” — but with a twist.

He adorned Venus in a No. 35 Kevin Durant jersey.

“Everybody, including myself, has Thunder mania right now,” said Marsee, a 44-year-old who operates his own custom framing shop in Weatherford. “I wanted to combine my two passions and I thought that would bridge the gap.”

O'Connor didn't ask for the Thunder-themed mural but was thrilled at the final result.

“He combined a well-known masterpiece by Botticelli and put an Oklahoman spin on it,” O'Connor said. “Artists have an incredible gift of improving the community and the quality of life, and I think Bobby did a great job of that with his painting.”

WESTBROOK'S CLOTHING IN THE SPOTLIGHT AGAIN

Once again, Russell Westbrook's wardrobe was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday, a night after he brought back the bright red glasses.

Westbrook was asked where he shopped for his clothes.

“I can't really tell you, but I buy them a lot of different places,” Westbrook said. “All three different places. Barneys, Saks Fifth, everywhere.”

Serge Ibaka, a more conventional dresser, said he didn't mind Westbrook's clothing choices.

“That's his style. If he likes his style, It doesn't matter what people say,” Ibaka said. “If he thinks he looks good, he looks good.”

QUOTABLE

“He is Dwyane Wade, right? He can still score the ball. He's still quick, explosive, can shoot the midrange. He still can get it done. We can't take that for granted.” — James Harden, after being asked if “Dwyane Wade was still Dwyane Wade.”

JACKSON VS. BROOKS

Thunder reserve guard Derek Fisher won his five world championships under Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Now Fisher is trying to win a sixth ring with a coach for whom he has played all of 36 games in the Thunder’s Scott Brooks. The primary differences between Jackson and Brooks?

“It’s been great because it continues to add to the understanding that there are different approaches to being successful,” Fisher said. “We can all learn from everybody. Phil is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in sports history and one of the greatest NBA coaches ever. Scotty’s still early in his coaching career and possibly could be on his way to being considered one of the best coaches. His (Brooks’) approach is different, but I’ve learned a lot in the few months of been here and how to manage people and manage players. It’s just great to see.

“I know it can be challenging, but I’m sure it’s very difficult to find the balance between trying to coach and get your team to do the things you know it should be doing while understanding who they are, where they are in their development, what they can and can’t handle. He (Brooks) has an unbelievable ability to feel that and have a sense for where these guys are. Maybe the advantage for him is when these players were drafted, he was right there from Day 1. So he’s been with these guys for four years so I think he knows who they are and they know he is and it’s a great combination.”

SALUTING SERGE

Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison was asked by international media about 22-year-old teammate Serge Ibaka, who was born in the Republic of Congo. “Serge has been great and he has really grown up a lot in a short time,” Collison said. “He’s always been very talented. A lot of the more subtle things in the game he’s really picking up. He’s such a force for us - defensively and offensively. He’s skilled.

“At first, he barely spoke English. And now, he won’t be quiet. He talks all the time. He’s very funny and we all get along really well. He’s a joy to have around.”

LOCKED IN

The Thunder is 13-3 so far in the playoffs, but veteran center Kendrick Perkins said he first felt something different with his teammates the final night of the NBA’s regular season when the team gathered for a watch party at Nazr Mohammed’s house to watch the Dallas at Atlanta game that determined who OKC’s first-round opponent would be.

“You could tell after the game was over with how everyone was locked instantly,” Perkins said. “You could just see it, feel it.”

by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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