Thunder notebook: Thunder bloodied but unbowed

The Thunder returned to practice on Monday after consecutive losses at Portland and the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite two very disappointing defeats, the team has remained positive.

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 4, 2011
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Cheeks played 15 NBA season from 1979 to 1993 and had career averages of 11.1 points, 6.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals. He was a four-time All-Star and four-time NBA All-Defensive Team member as a player and has been a head coach with Portland and Philadelphia. Cheeks was a member of the 1983 championship-winning Philadelphia 76ers.

SECOND HALF STRUGGLES EMERGE

In three of the past four games, the Thunder has struggled to close out opponents. Oklahoma City lost two of those games and narrowly escaped against Golden State.

In three of the last four games, the Thunder has been outscored in the second half by an average margin of 54-41.

“I think on the defensive end, we need a lot more focus,” said Collison. “And I think on the offensive end, we need to just continue doing what got us in that position and move the ball. Sometimes we get stagnant on the offensive end when we get leads.”

On the year, the Thunder has outscored opponents in the second half on average 51.2 to 46.1 in wins and been outscored 50.3 to 45.4 in losses.

DEFENDING DURANT

The task of trying to defend Durant tonight will fall on the shoulders of Denver swingman Wilson Chandler, considered by many to be an underrated perimeter defender. On Sunday, Chandler helped hold Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to 28 points on 10 of 27 shooting. Bryant scored just four points on 2-for-7 shooting in the decisive fourth quarter.

“He's the same type of player in a sense,” Chandler said of Durant. “He's going to have the ball in his hands a lot. He's taller, so he's tougher to guard when he's shooting the ball. He can shoot right over you. So I'm just going to try to be physical with him and make him take tough shots.”

QUOTABLE

Russell Westbrook on his 1-for-12 shooting Saturday: “It happens. It's nights like that. You just got to deal with it and get better.”

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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