Holiday Toy DriveThe Thunder will be accepting unwrapped toys for a Holiday Toy Drive to benefit the Salvation Army before tonight’s game. Toys will be collected at the Ford Center entrances. Fans who donate toys will receive a voucher for two free tickets to an upcoming Thunder game, courtesy of Cox Oklahoma.
Positive attitudeThe Thunder has lost 18 of its last 19 games. When teams get on a bad streak, sometimes losing becomes a habit and losses don’t sting as much. "That’s there in the back of people’s minds, something you really don’t want to creep into your locker room,” Smith said. "We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been winners and we’ve been losers. Losing is no fun. I’m quite sure we all have the attitude and have pride in ourselves. ... We’re all tired of losing.” Coach Scott Brooks said: "It’s not easy losing games. ... I know on a personal level their hearts are not losers. I’ve been around those type of players before, but we have guys who still believe in what we’re doing. They hurt when they don’t win. If there’s a bright spot it’s they hurt when they don’t win.”
Scouting MemphisOklahoma City ended a 14-game losing streak two weeks ago at Memphis. The Grizzlies have won two of their last three, but that was preceded by a seven-game losing streak. In the first meeting 10 days ago, the Thunder won 111-103, outscoring Memphis 14-3 down the stretch. "That gives us a little confidence, but it really doesn’t matter,” said guard Russell Westbrook. "We have to go out and play hard every night. ... We can’t get off to another slow start (like Monday).”
Fast breakBrooks said Tuesday’s practice was "really good,” with an emphasis on defensive principles, reiterating practice is where you improve. ... Memphis is led by rookie O.J. Mayo, who played against Westbrook in the Pac-10. They were on opposing sides of a rivalry — Westbrook at UCLA, Mayo at USC. ... Robert Swift (back spasms) is listed day-to-day but still hasn’t returned to practice. By Mike Baldwin