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Oklahoma City Thunder notebook

Oklahoman Published: January 11, 2009
One-night-only lineup
Thunder coach Scott Brooks inserted Earl Watson into the starting lineup at point guard for the first time since Nov. 28 in an attempt to counter Chicago’s small-ball starting lineup. Russell Westbrook moved to shooting guard, and Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Nick Collison rounded out the starting unit.

"It’s really just because of what they present,” Brooks said. "We wanted to be able to match their quickness and wanted to give ourselves the best chance of having a good start.”

Westbrook for ROY?
Westbrook is beginning to gain more respect around the league, winning Rookie of the Month honors for December and causing many to consider the Rookie of the Year Award to be more than a two-man race between Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Memphis’ O.J. Mayo.

Westbrook said he’s not overly concerned with the attention.

"I’m just going to keep playing and let everything else speak for itself,” Westbrook said. "I think I belong in the conversation but I have no control over it.”

Impressions of Rose
Saturday night’s lineup change prevented a head-to-head matchup between Rose, the No. 1 overall pick and Westbrook, the No. 4 overall pick. The players guarded each other only on occasion, as Watson was matched up against Rose for the majority of the game.

The Thunder still came away impressed.

"He’s a great player,” Watson said.