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Thunder notebook: Preseason opener arrives

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer Modified: October 7, 2009 at 4:35 am •  Published: October 7, 2009
Coach Scott Brooks is so competitive he keeps score during drills in practice, so you won’t convince Brooks wins and losses are meaningless in preseason.

"Most importantly, I’ll tell our guys our minutes have to be played hard, with a lot of effort and intensity,” Brooks said. "Anytime you’re in an athletic situation, you play to win.”

Brooks is uncertain how many minutes veterans will play. He was pleased with an intense, two-hour practice Tuesday, a session that reviewed schemes and plays put in the first week of training camp.

Gain momentum?
The Thunder was 1-6 in preseason last season, the lone win being against the Rockets in Tulsa, then started the regular season 3-29.

"I don’t think you can gain momentum because in preseason teams aren’t playing their regular five,” said Kevin Durant. "But it’s important for us to not take steps back. The biggest thing is to always get better no matter who is on the floor. "

Star players often don’t play major minutes. Sometimes they sit out games. Most teams focus on evaluating younger players.

"We just want to get better every game, try to get a win, have some fun and get into game shape,” Durant said. "It’s tougher to get into game shape in practice.