The Thunder scored 21 fast-break points Friday to move into the NBA’s top-10 in transition points. Fifteen percent of OKC’s scoring is fast-break points. "Running is a big part of what we do,” said coach Scott Brooks. "I don’t focus on it. There are not a lot of times I talk about it in practice, or even during games. But every time I mention it, I always talk about defense and rebounding first. The first part is getting a stop. "But when we get stops and not take the ball out of the net (following an opponent scoring), it gives our athletic wings and our athletic point guard a chance to really race up the court. That puts a lot of pressure on a defense.”
IBAKA HAS CAREER HIGHSerge Ibaka, who returned after sitting out one game with back spasms, scored a career-high 14 points, all in the second half. Ibaka was one of seven Thunder players to score in double figures, the first time that’s happened this season. "Serge has an amazing ability to score around the basket,” Brooks said. "Those are not easy shots, the four- to six-foot shots. It’s a touch shot. He’s one of the best at making those. When he does miss it’s surprising. His hands are improving every day.”
LATE CHOICESKevin Durant was on the bench in the waning minutes Friday because OKC owned a double-digit lead the entire second half, leading by as many as 25 points. But in the two previous games, both losses, OKC was 0-of-18 the final 4 1/2 minutes. Since Durant attempted only six of the 18 shots, does the All-Star need more touches late in games? "Kevin is making good plays. He doesn’t have to take every shot,” Brooks said. "You’re not going to make forced shots very often. You’re playing with fire if you take bad shots in late-game situations.”
COLLISON RETURNSNick Collison (sprained knee) returned after sitting out Wednesday’s game. Earlier this season, Collison missed four games with a sprained knee, but this time there wasn’t any swelling. "I think I kind of hyperextended it, a little sprain,” Collison said. "It was sore the next day in San Antonio. The day off in San Antonio and the day off (Thursday) helped.”
PLAYOFF RACE UPDATEThe Thunder once again got good news on the scoreboard. Portland and San Antonio both lost, and two of the three teams below Oklahoma City also lost. ESPN’s daily playoff projections list the Thunder as having a 95-percent chance of making the playoffs. Why so high? The Thunder is on pace to win 49 games. To reach 49, Houston would have to go 20-5 the remainder of the season, Memphis 20-4 and New Orleans 18-5.
GREEN WRIST UPDATESince he injured his right wrist in the first practice after the All-Star Game, Jeff Green has wrapped his wrist. On Friday, he wore a less constricting wrap. "My feet were taken out from under me, and I landed on my wrist,” Green said of the original injury. "It’s getting better. I don’t want to fall on it again and injure it more, so I wear the wrap. It’s something that comes with the game when you play hard. I just have to play through it.”
FAST BREAK. . .The Thunder improved to 24-3 when scoring 100 points. ... Friday’s game was a sellout, the 16th in 28 home games. ... All fans in Loud City were given free Thunder rally towels. ... The Thunder debuted a new video for starting lineup introductions.