Earlier this week, Thunder coach Scott Brooks admitted giving some thought to starting Royal Ivey at shooting guard and returning Daequan Cook to the second unit.
“I've definitely thought about it, (but) never to the point where I've wanted to pull the trigger,” Brooks said before Monday night's home victory against Dallas. “I like his (Ivey's) energy off the bench. I like DC's ability to stretch the floor, and he's been guarding much better. Definitely thought about it, but not enough to make the switch.”
It is not known if Brooks has reconsidered starting Ivey for Friday's 7 p.m. home game against Cleveland. The Thunder had Thursday off, and Brooks was not available for comment.
Though Ivey failed to score in Wednesday night's game against the Phoenix Suns, he played a key role in the Thunder's 115-104 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Ivey played the final 17:03 of the contest and sparked a defensive surge by OKC, which overcame a 16-point deficit in a span of eight minutes.
On the season, Ivey is averaging 11.4 minutes and 2.6 points in 14 appearances. Cook is averaging 19.8 minutes, 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 19 starts and 38 appearances.
If Brooks decided to start Ivey, it would allow Cook to return to his more familiar role with the second unit rather than trying to blend his long-range game with the powerful scoring punch of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. When sixth man James Harden started two games in place of Thabo Sefolosha earlier this season, Brooks quickly returned Harden to his reserve role because it offered a greater comfort level.
“That was the reason I thought about it (starting Ivey) because DC definitely has a nice role with that second group, but he's had some good games for us as a starter,” Brooks said. “We have to do a better job of finding one of the league's best 3-point shooters (Cook) some shots, but that hasn't swayed me enough to change the lineup.”
The starting position opened 20 games ago when Sefolosha suffered an injury to his right foot. Sefolosha officially is listed as day-to-day, but is not expected back for another 1-2 weeks.
‘T' IT UP WITH PERK
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins leads the NBA in technical fouls. He also leads in rescissions.
According to the league office, Perkins officially has 10 technical fouls this season and has had three rescinded.
Had all of Perkins' technicals stood, he would have already served a one-game suspension.
A player receives a one-game suspension once he reaches 13 technical fouls during the 66-game regular season and serves a one-game suspension for every other technical thereafter.
The count resets for the postseason and a one-game suspension commences with a player's seventh technical and every other one thereafter.
The technical count for the rest of the Thunder: Westbrook 8; Serge Ibaka 3; Durant 2; Nazr Mohammed 1; Harden 1; Ryan Reid 1.
Going into Wednesday's contest against Phoenix, Durant had committed 16 turnovers in the previous three games while Westbrook had committed just five.
OKC and New York lead the league in turnovers at 16.8 per game. Westbrook has the second-most turnovers in the league with 157. Only New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams (163) has more. Durant has the fifth-most turnovers with 142, the most of any non-guard.
“His turnovers lately have been (because) he's dribbling too much into the crowd,” Brooks said of Durant. “A lot of times he's ready to pass, but it's too late (and) they're stripping the ball. He needs to make that pass one dribble earlier.”
On the first possession against the Suns, Durant committed a turnover, but had just one more the rest of the game.
Games 3 and 4 of the Thunder's five-game homestand will be Friday against Cleveland (14-23) and Saturday against Charlotte (5-32). Game 5 is Tuesday against Houston (21-19). All games start at 7 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Though Charlotte has the worst record in the league, the Thunder should be well-aware not to overlook anybody. OKC has lost to Washington (9-29) and Sacramento (13-26) this season. Plus, the Bobcats upset Orlando on Tuesday while the Cavaliers are coming off a 100-99 victory Wednesday night at Denver.
Perkins on why he likes playing in close games: “I really don't like blowouts. I like those type games when you're at home and need to make the big play. I think we need that. See who's got the heart, (you) see who's going to come through in the clutch for you. We've got a lot of young guys that have got a lot of pride and go play hard every night.”