Thunder notebook: With new roster, OKC putting pieces together on the fly

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY and JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer Modified: March 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm •  Published: March 5, 2011
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In fact, in six games since the All-Star break, Harden has averaged 17 points on 47.6 percent shooting.

“We all believe in him, and he knows that,” Durant said. “And he's been playing defense very well these last few games. He's just playing hard for us. He's been working extremely hard and he's starting to see some of the benefits of it.”

FAVORABLE SCHEDULE

The Thunder's winning ways could very well continue over the next three weeks as it integrates new pieces into the mix.

Starting with tonight's game against Phoenix, the Thunder is entering a favorable stretch of the season's schedule. Seven of this month's final 14 opponents are below .500.

After the Suns tonight, the Thunder plays at Memphis and at Philadelphia before hosting Detroit on March 11 and then going on a three-game road trip to Cleveland, Washington and Miami.

A six-game home stand follows the Miami game, starting with Charlotte on March 18, a potential target date for Perkins, who is recovering from a knee injury, to join the lineup. After the Bobcats, the Thunder hosts Toronto, Utah, Minnesota, Portland and Golden State. Of those six teams, only the Jazz and the Blazers have a winning record.

SEATTLE TIMES

Newly acquired guard Robinson and forward Nick Collison got to know each other in Seattle while Robinson was playing college ball at Washington and Collison was with the SuperSonics.

“He used to come up and play with us during open gym in the summertime when I was in college,” Robinson said. “We'd mix it up. He's always been a great guy to me. He has great character and a great spirit about himself.”

Robinson recalled a charity event he had with Atlanta Hawks guard and fellow Seattle resident Jamal Crawford, during which Collison would up winning the softball Home Run Derby.

“He has a future if he wants to start his own softball league,” Robinson said of Collison. “He'd be the home run leader.”

LEFTY-RIGHTY

Turns out Harden might not be the Thunder's only left-handed 3-point shooter. Horsing around with teammates after his first practice, Robinson was spotted nailing five straight 3-pointers right-handed. He then switched to left-handed and made three of five.

Asked if he was ambidextrous, Robinson said, ‘A little bit. It's something I've been practicing since I was a kid.”