With Tuesday night's 100-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies inside the FedExForum, the Thunder has won four straight games in five nights, but players admit there is no time to gloat.
“Oh, there never is during the season,” OKC reserve forward Nick Collison said.
Next up for the Thunder is a 7 p.m. game Wednesday at New Orleans, which is coming off a 94-81 victory at Denver on Monday.
Point guard Russell Westbrook said there isn't even time to smile.
“No. Not yet, man,” Westbrook said after scoring a game-high 30 points. “We've just got to get ready for tomorrow, get ready for New Orleans, go in there and try to steal a win. They're a good team, especially at home.”
OKC coach Scott Brooks insists he says nothing to his players when it comes to forgetting what's in the past and what lies ahead.
“It's just weird,” Brooks said. “Our team, I guess, has matured that way. Even when we clinched and made the playoffs two years ago, it was ‘OK, we're excited, but we're not done.' Last year, we were excited after every win in the playoffs and we moved on.”
CALLING ALL RESERVES
— Thunder reserve center Cole Aldrich did not make the trip because of personal reasons. It was not immediately known if he would be in New Orleans for Wednesday's game.
— Thunder forward Ryan Reid, who underwent nasal fracture surgery after his face hit the back of Reggie Jackson's head, is experimenting with a clear facemask during Tuesday's shootaround and during pregame. He is expected to make a full recovery in 1-3 weeks.
— No further word to when reserve point guard Eric Maynor will undergo surgery to repair the torn right anterior cruciate ligament he suffered last Saturday at Houston. It often is a week or two before surgery is performed due to swelling.
The first half ended with a double-technical foul on Memphis center Marc Gasol and Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins now has technicals in back-to-back games, four total on the season and is on pace for 24 technicals in the 66-game season. A player serves a one-game suspension on his 13th technical.
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha entered the game fifth in the league in 3-point shooting (.538). After Tuesday night, he is now 10 for 16 on the season (.625). … Tuesday's game hardly resembled last year's Western Conference semifinal in terms of atmosphere. A crowd of just 13,601 was on hand at FedExForum, well below the 18,119 capacity. … Brooks has stressed rebounding this past week. OKC outrebounded the Grizzlies 55-45.
The Thunder closes out five games in six nights with a 7 p.m. game Wednesday at New Orleans. After playing the Hornets, OKC's next back-to-back isn't until Feb. 6-7 at Portland and at Golden State.
“We're a tough team, I think. We're a tough-minded team. We didn't worry about it. We just take it a game at a time, a possession at a time and I think that's the best way to do it.” – Kevin Durant on winning four games in five nights
COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS
Though they have been in town only 3½ years, several members of the Thunder staff have quickly latched on to local college football. Brooks said Tuesday morning he was curious how Oklahoma State would have fared against LSU in Monday night's national championship game.
Because of the 149-day NBA lockout and no training camp until Dec. 9, Brooks was able to attend two games at Oklahoma State last season — Baylor on Oct. 29 and Bedlam on Dec. 3.
“The atmosphere there was awesome. Unbelievable,” said Brooks, who made note of the pregame exchange between the Cowboys and Sooners.
Brooks played college ball at Cal State-Irvine, which has no football team.
After Tuesday night's game in Memphis, the Thunder flew to New Orleans and will play across the street from the Superdome, site of the BCS national championship game.
The Grizzlies will pay tribute to the late Gene Bartow, who coached Memphis State to the 1973 national championship game. He succeeded John Wooden as coach at UCLA in 1975 and went 52-9 there in two seasons before moving on to Alabama-Birmingham. After coaching, Bartow became president of Hoops LP, the parent company of the Grizzlies and FedExForum.
Tuesday marked the first game Memphis player uniforms donned a commemorative “GB” patch in honor of Bartow, who died of stomach cancer on Jan. 3.