Thunder notebook: Russell Westbrook struggles after altercation with Kevin Durant

OKC THUNDER — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook appear to argue on bench during a second-quarter timeout.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: December 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm •  Published: December 28, 2011
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“Shane's an unbelievable player, a great teammate from what I've heard. I wish him the best. If he would have come here it would have been perfect for us.”

LOOKING BACK ON LAST YEAR'S SEMIFINAL SERIES

Before his team faced the Grizzlies on Wednesday, Thunder coach Scott Brooks looked back on last year's second round playoff series one last time.

“It was a great series,” Brooks said. “It's one of those things you're thankful that you end up winning the series, but it could have gone either way. Both teams played well. Both teams grew up in that series…It was a battle every night, every possession. It was what you want in a playoff series…Both teams couldn't have played harder. Everything was left on the floor. You always want that from your players and you can accept the outcome.”

The Thunder won in seven games before losing 4-1 to Dallas in the Western Conference Finals. Durant said he remembered how the nation tuned in to watch the wildly entertaining series.

“People wouldn't expect that from two small teams,” Durant said of the series commanding so much attention. “So it's kind of cool that two small market teams are kind of showing themselves differently.”

Brooks said it's too early to call the matchup a rivalry.

“It takes years of playoff battles,” Brooks said. “It was one great one for sure.”

QUOTABLE

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins on Durant — “Kevin Durant averaged 27 points per game last year. He averaged 30 the year before. He is a scoring machine. We'd like to slow him down, but I haven't seen anybody stop him from scoring.”

TAP-INS

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley sprained his left ankle on the game's opening possession. He was helped off the court 24 seconds in and did not return to the game. ... Cole Aldrich made his season debut in the first quarter after Perkins and Collison were each whistled for two fouls in the first five minutes. ... Rookie guard Reggie Jackson and forward Lazar Hayward were both on the active list and dressed Wednesday. ... Oklahoma native Kristin Chenoweth, an Emmy and Tony Award-winner, will perform the national anthem prior to Thursday's game against Dallas. ... Thursday's game is the first of six Thunder games scheduled to be broadcast on TNT. It will not be shown locally on FS Oklahoma. ... Midway through the second quarter, Memphis general manager Chris Wallace presented the team's mascot “Griz” with a trophy for Mascot of the Year.

UP NEXT

The Thunder returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night to face the Dallas Mavericks. It will be the fourth game in five nights for the Thunder and the first of four regular season meetings between the teams.

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