Kevin Durant is fifth among Western Conference forwards in the most recent All-Star balloting released Thursday. Durant has received 474,506 votes, nearly 1 million behind Carmelo Anthony. Dirk Nowitzki is second (753,971) followed by Tim Duncan (685,390) and Pau Gasol (667,767). Kobe Bryant is the leading vote-getter with 1.6 million votes. Starters will be announced Jan. 21. A long shot to start, Durant is considered by most to be a lock to be named a reserve. The All-Star Game is Feb. 14 in Dallas.
Tiebreaker edgeIt’s way too early to place much stock in tie-breakers. But they can be critical in April. Having already won in Salt Lake City, the Thunder was trying to get a leg up on the Jazz. Houston players referenced it when the Rockets clinched the season series recently, having won all three meetings against Oklahoma City. OKC’s head-to-head record against other Western Conference playoff contenders: Utah (2-0); Phoenix (1-0); San Antonio (1-0); Sacramento (1-1); LA Clippers (1-1); Houston (0-3).
WHITE UPDATEWith the Tulsa 66ers’ next game not until Saturday, forward D.J. White returned to Oklahoma City to work out with the team’s training staff Thursday. White attended the Utah game but hasn’t been recalled from the 66ers. White, who Brooks wants to see improve his rebounding, scoring and interior defense, said the D-League provides a good environment to work on his game. White has averaged 20.5 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in two games. "It’s good to get on the court and get up and down against competition,” White said. "I haven’t been playing much up here. Anytime you can compete and play against guys it’s good for development. I’m not far from here so I can come back and work out when I need to like I did today.”
THOMAS UPDATEEtan Thomas rejoined the Thunder on Thursday, the first time he’s been with the team since a Dec. 23 game at Phoenix. Thomas, who was active and was in uniform, said before the game that he’s nearly recovered from the flu and is healthy enough to play. Having been replaced in the rotation by Serge Ibaka, Thomas hasn’t appeared in a game since Dec. 4.
BLOOD DRIVE A SUCCESSThe Thunder established an Oklahoma Blood Institute single-day, non-emergency record when 810 people donated blood Thursday at the Cox Convention Center. Everyone that donated blood received a voucher good for two tickets to a selected upcoming Thunder game.
FAST BREAK. . .With 31 points, Kevin Durant posted his sixth consecutive 30-plus point game, tying the franchise record established by Spencer Haywood (1972). ... Thursday’s game was a sellout, the 10th this season in 16 home games.
WIN NO. 18
|08-09||3/10||Sacramento||99-98||Green scores 22|
|09-10||12/31||Utah||87-86||Durant scores 31|