Kevin Durant said he grew up admiring Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s basketball abilities. But the Thunder forward was taken aback when Bryant offered to help him in any way he could when Durant went to USA Basketball camp soon after he was drafted in 2007. "He was the first guy to say something to me,” Durant said. "He kind of took me under his wing a little bit. I can’t thank him enough for that. It was just fun being around him.” Durant just didn’t have the courage to take Bryant up on his offer and ask the star guard for advice. "I was a little nervous,” Durant said. "It was Kobe Bryant, and I was a young rookie. I just couldn’t talk to him.”
EXPECTATIONS FOR ROSEThunder forward Malik Rose doesn’t figure to play many minutes in the team’s final 26 games, but coach Scott Brooks said he spoke with the power forward Monday morning and told him three things he’s looking for Rose to bring. "I said I want his leadership on and off the court,” Brooks said. "I want his professionalism, how he approaches the game. And I also want him to communicate with our young guys. Our young guys listen. They want to get better, and they will value Malik’s experiences. He’s seen it, all and it’s important for him to share those experiences with them.”
COMPETING FOR MINUTESBrooks said guard Thabo Sefolosha’s playing time over the next few days will be similar to the 18 minutes he played in his debut at Golden State on Saturday. Brooks added that Sefolosha will have the opportunity to earn more minutes in the coming days. "We feel what he brings to our team (defense) is something that we need and we want,” Brooks said. "So it’s up to him now to earn more.” Sefolosha didn’t waste time making his presence known at his first practice on Monday. He accidentally elbowed guard Earl Watson above his right eye, causing Watson to receive three stitches. "It was just like a little welcome, like I’m here,” joked Sefolosha. Said Rose: "I guess he was letting us know those five fouls the other night wasn’t a fluke.”
COURT OF DREAMSThe Thunder will host 126 boys and girls from 13 area high schools before tonight’s game as part of the team’s Court of Dreams promotion.
KSBI MOVES TO CHANNEL 15Thunder games on KSBI-TV will now air on COX Channel 15 in Oklahoma City instead of Channel 9. The move does not affect the satellite or U-verse signal, which will continue to air games on Channel 52. BY DARNELL MAYBERRY AND MIKE BALDWIN