Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Stephen Smith told Kevin Durant in the locker room after the game he’s going to put Durant No. 2 on his MVP ballot behind LeBron James, the overwhelming favorite. "To be honest I get kind of tired of people talking to me about it,” Durant said before the game. "Those awards really don’t mean anything to me. My first year coming in, winning Rookie of the Year, being in that race was cool. That was something that I wanted to accomplish. "But it’s all about winning for me right now. Trying to get to the playoffs, trying to get to a championship (level), that’s what it’s about. That stuff is over for me, going out playing for awards. I don’t even think about it to be honest. But it’s cool to be in the race.”
Hit and missPoint guard Russell Westbrook had an odd game. Westbrook dished out 14 assists, one shy of his career high, and had only one turnover. Westbrook, though, was 1-of-10 from the field before making his final two shots. "Russell really set the tone defensively. He got after it,” said coach Scott Brooks. "I’m sure he would have liked to have made a few more shots, but he controlled the game.”
Extra motivation?Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks’ jersey hangs in the Wachovia Center rafters. He also coached the Sixers for four years before he was fired early last season. Tuesday’s game was Cheeks’ first back in Philly since he was dismissed. "I’m focusing my energy on the Thunder,” Cheeks said. "Obviously coming back here brings back a lot of memories. I still have a lot of friends here. I talked to players I coached. (Philadelphia) will always be special. But I’m making sure my focus is on our team.” Durant said he noticed a difference at the team shootaround. "He had more energy than I’ve seen him have this morning,” Durant said. "It was good to come in here and get a win for Mo.”
Scouting BostonBoston, battling Atlanta for the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds, still has a lot to play for. The reward is avoiding Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But some are suggesting the Celtics are too old to make a title run. "All I can judge them on is the one game we played them and it was the best team we’ve played all year,” Brooks said. "We had very little hope from start to finish. I would not say it was an off night for us. They were good. That was a whipping.” At the time, the Celtics were in the midst of an 11-game winning streak on their way to a 23-5 record on Christmas Day. Boston, though, has struggled, going 24-21 since the holidays. "I know they haven’t played as well as they would have liked,” Brooks said, "but that’s a talented team, that’s going to give a lot of teams problems in the playoffs.”
Fast breakThe Sixers played the Broadway version of the song "Oklahoma” during the Thunder’s pre-game introductions. ... The Thunder is 33-4 when it scores 100 points and is 26-3 when Nenad Krstic scores in double figures. ... Sixers point guard Lou Williams (lower back pain) missed his fourth consecutive game. ... Philly fans lived up to their reputation. Some fans booed a contestant who didn’t fare well in a shooting contest.