After Tuesday night's 110-105 loss at Memphis, Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant and some teammates admitted they made mistakes and did not play well against the Grizzlies. OKC gets another crack at Memphis at 7 p.m. Saturday inside Oklahoma City Arena.
“I like that (our) guys know they made mistakes,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “First, they don't want to (make mistakes). It's a problem if you don't know that you made a mistake and you blame in on everybody else. That's why I love our guys. They don't ever play the blame game. They understand they should have played better.”
NOT HALF BAD
Odd as it sounds, the key to Thursday night's 99-95 victory at Dallas not only was the Thunder's second-half defense when the Mavericks shot 34.2 percent, but also that OKC trailed just 55-51 at intermission after the Mavs shot 58.5 percent from the field in the first half.
“You have to go into every game and make it a fourth-quarter game,” Brooks said. “I thought the first half being down four, the way they were shooting the ball, it could have easily been a 12- to 15-point deficit … I thought the third quarter was as good as any team could play defense.”
Former Oklahoma State guard Tony Allen has built his NBA reputation as a defender, but it was his superlative offense that helped lead the Grizzlies to victory over the Thunder earlier this week.
Allen finished with a season-high 19 points and added three steals and two blocked shots. He entered the game 1 of 4 from 3-point range but buried 2 of 3 beyond the arc against the Thunder, including one with 1:21 remaining to give Memphis a 104-99 lead.
“He won the game for them,” Brooks said of Allen, who is in his seventh season. “Those two 3s were huge. That's what winners do. He's been around winning his whole life. He's a tough, hard-nosed winner.”
KIDD FIRES BLANKS
Dallas point guard Jason Kidd went scoreless in 40 minutes against the Thunder, going 0 for 7 from the field Thursday. He did, however, collect 10 rebounds and seven assists. It was only the second time in his 17-year career that Kidd has gone scoreless while playing 40-plus minutes (Jan. 6, 1998, against Indiana).
“(The Thunder) had success (last season), and when you have success you assume you've made it. What people don't understand is that once you're successful, it gets harder. From a talent standpoint, they are one of the best teams in the league, but they haven't taken that next step. They are living on reputation.” – TNT analyst Charles Barkley