Thunder notebook: Surprise! I'll be home for Christmas

Two families of Oklahoma National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan were surprised at halftime when the soldiers walked onto to the court during a ceremony.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: December 25, 2011
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The Thunder left after the game and flew to Minnesota for Monday night's game against the Timberwolves, who will make their debut under new coach Rick Adelman and heralded point guard Ricky Rubio. Minnesota finished 17-65 last season and ended with 15 straight losses.

“He (Adelman) wins wherever he goes and they're going to be prepared,” Brooks said. “(Kevin) Love is an All-Star … they have some exciting players. We have to match their first-game intensity and we're looking forward to it.”

The Thunder plays at Memphis on Wednesday and returns home for games against Dallas on Thursday and Phoenix on New Year's Eve.

TAP-INS

Dwight Howard was 17 for 20 from the free-throw line last year at OKC. On Sunday, he finished 3 for 8. … Thunder guard Russell Westbrook wore white leg stockings. … With less than two minutes left in the game, Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant hit the floor hard going for an offensive rebound. He got up slowly, was slightly hobbled with an injured left knee and finished the game. … James Harden's first field goal didn't come until 4.6 seconds remained in the first half off an alley-oop pass from Westbrook. Until that moment, Harden was 9 for 9 from the free-throw line, with four rebounds and three assists.

QUOTABLE

“Well, no disrespect to the legend, but I felt like Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) out there tonight.” – Durant, after going 6 for 11 at the free-throw line.

Box score: Thunder 97, Magic 89


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