Kevin Durant, fourth in the NBA in scoring, didn’t practice Friday. Slowed by a sprained ankle he suffered Monday night in Chicago, Durant is questionable for tonight’s game but probably will play, according to coach Scott Brooks. "We’ll see how he feels (Saturday), but he was feeling pretty good today,” Brooks said.
IS OKC BASKETBALL PURGATORY?That’s the headline on ESPN.com writer Scoop Jackson’s Page 2 story. Jackson, though, writes Oklahoma City might not have the nightlife as big cities, but most players view road trips as a time to venture out. Jackson writes Thunder players spend time together at the practice facility and go to each other’s houses for barbecues and video games. Durant is quoted: "People always ask, ‘Wouldn’t you rather be in Miami or LA? I always tell them, ‘No.’ This place is perfect for me.” Durant also said: "I come from a big city (Washington, D.C.) You can get tired of tall buildings after a while. Man, I live across the street from a farm (in Edmond).”
WATSON’S RETURNEarlier this week, Earl Watson replaced T.J. Ford as Indiana’s starting point guard. Last season in Oklahoma City, Watson opened the season as the starting point guard, served as Russell Westbrook’s backup for three months, then sat on the bench the final month so the organization could evaluate Chucky Atkins. "We had to figure out our options at that time,” Brooks said. "Chucky got a few extra minutes down the stretch. Kyle (Weaver) got some minutes at the point. Earl was a professional all year... Earl is doing a good job for them. It’s part of the game. Players get moved to other teams.” Watson is averaging 7.3 points, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals.
WHITE RECALLEDThe Thunder has recalled forward D.J. White from Tulsa of the D-League. He averaged 18.3 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in six games. He recorded four double-doubles. It’s doubtful White will crack Brooks’ nine-man rotation with the Thunder, but White provides practice depth and insurance in case of injuries or foul trouble.
PLAYERS ASSOCIATION MEETINGRepresentatives from the NBA Players Association stopped at the practice facility Friday. They try to visit every NBA team three or four times a season to update players on various issues, including labor relations since the collective bargaining deal ends after the 2010-11 season. "When I was a player you’d heard most of the stuff, but it’s always good to hear it,” Brooks said. "There are a lot of crazy things that go on. I don’t know what their session was about today, but there’s always an agenda whether it’s finances or other issues.”
SCREEN PRACTICEOne advantage during a four-game homestand is it’s an opportunity to brush up on specific areas. A 90-minute session Friday concentrated on setting better screens. "There are certain things you focus on that sometimes take a backseat,” Brooks said. "You have to evaluate your team. I feel that’s been slipping. The last game it wasn’t as good as it needs to be.”