WE AIN'T FRIENDS
During the Thunder's home-and-home preseason series against the world champion Dallas Mavericks, there appeared to be a few sequences the Mavs were caught off-guard by the quickness and agility of OKC center Kendrick Perkins, who lost 31 pounds during the offseason.
"I was just going out there and playing my game," Perkins said. "The thing with the Mavs is they try to lure you to sleep, try to talk to you and make you think they're good friends with you, then at the same time try to hit shots in your face. So you've got to make sure you keep the mentality that you're going out there to win the game and not get caught up in all this talk and buddy-buddy stuff, because that's what they try to do."
Perkins has noted how well-dressed the Thunder coaching staff is on game day.
"I noticed it when I got here," said Perkins, acquired in a trade with the Boston Celtics on Feb. 24 last season. "They think they fly, from (assistant Maurice) Cheeks to M.B. (assistant Mark Bryant). They all think they be fly, so I just wanted to give them props. Just joking around, but I was serious, though."
A delayed start to the season and a Christmas Day audience figure to lead to early jitters.
"I told the guys, 'You should have butterflies. You should be a little nervous. That means you care,' " Brooks said. "No question I get them and I've had them for a few days now."
Even scoring champs have jitters.
"Oh, yeah. Always, for some reason," Durant said. "I just want to do so well. I'm anxious to see how my hard work is going to pay off. Hopefully, I play well, we play well as a team and just continue to keep going."
— The Thunder's scheduled 45-minute shootaround on Saturday eventually became a 95-minute practice, ending at 12:35 p.m.
— Guard Daequan Cook vowed to tighten up his scruffy beard in time for the season opener. However, guard James Harden repeatedly has said he has no idea when he will trim his renowned facial hair.
— The Durant house is full of Christmas visitors. "I have eight little cousins sleeping on my floor, turning video games on at 8 in the morning," Durant said. "I always have fun with those guys — my cousins, my mom, my dad, my uncle. It feels like I'm a kid again."
The Thunder opens the season Christmas Day at 7 p.m. against the Orlando Magic. OKC then plays at Minnesota on Monday; at Memphis on Wednesday; at home against Dallas on Thursday; at home against Phoenix on New Year's Eve.