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Thunder notebook: Late-game execution eluding OKC

By Darnell Mayberry and Mike Baldwin, Staff Writers Modified: March 30, 2010 at 6:27 am •  Published: March 30, 2010

In what’s becoming a bit of an alarming trend, the Thunder once again failed to get a good shot attempt out of a late-game inbounds play in Sunday’s 92-87 loss against Portland.

With seven seconds remaining, Kevin Durant launched a potential game-tying 3-pointer from 28-feet rather than searching for a more quality shot.

In last Monday’s 99-96 home loss to San Antonio, Thabo Sefolosha, a 29.8 percent shooter from long range, threw up a potential game-winning 24-foot 3-pointer with four seconds remaining. And that came after point guard Russell Westbrook foiled an opportunity to tie the game or take the lead on the previous possession when he stepped over the line as he attempted to inbound the ball.

Coach Scott Brooks, though, isn’t concerned.

"I disagree that they’ve become an issue,” Brooks said. "You get the ball and you make a shot, or you miss a shot. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad executed play.”

Until you examine how opposing defenses have baffled the Thunder. Portland assigned 6-foot-11 center Marcus Camby onto Durant, and the Blazers saw their big man use his length to force Durant into short-arming his 3-point attempt. San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili doubled Durant immediately upon when he received the inbounds pass. And in a 104-102 home loss to Phoenix, Suns coach Alvin Gentry denied Durant the ball by putting 7-foot center Robin Lopez on the inbounds passer.

"Obviously, we want to make all of our shots on out of inbounds (plays) down the stretch,” Brooks said. "That’s part of the game. That’s part of our development as a team.”

Scouting Philadelphia
The Philadelphia 76ers have the fourth-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 26-47 and have been eliminated from the playoffs.