Playful Thunder preps its All-StarsThunder players stayed on the court an extra 30 minutes after Wednesday’s practice and set up a trial run for Kevin Durant, who will compete in the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend. Durant had 16 points in his first go-round after a slow start. Daequan Cook, the league’s 2009 3-point contest winner, was off the mark and got booed by teammates. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who went 4 for 4 on 3-pointers at Utah last Saturday night, had 23 points before running out of time with two balls still left in the final rack and received a standing ovation. Westbrook is an All-Star reserve and potentially could participate in the Skills Challenge. Teammates then helped forward Serge Ibaka prepare for the dunk contest, the details of which Thunder players have asked to remain privileged. “Thunder U is in full force today,” Brooks said, shaking his head as a dozen players continued with their post-practice recess. This came the day after Tuesday night’s careless 105-101 overtime loss at home against Memphis. Brooks said his players were still upset about the setback at the outset of practice. “And that’s good,” Brooks said. “Like I told our players, ‘It’s a hiccup.’ We don’t normally turn the ball over that many times (a season-high 23), and we don’t normally miss free throws (six in the second half). … Looking at them, you wouldn’t know we lost a game last night, and I don’t say that in a negative way. We move on. That’s what we do. That’s what I love about these guys is their passion.”
HORSELESSDurant won the first two H-O-R-S-E competitions during All-Star Weekend, and he will retire as champ. The contest has been discontinued. “I’ve got a little bragging rights,” Durant joked.
LATE STARTThe Thunder delayed the start of Wednesday’s practice by two hours because of the exiting snowstorm and still got in a 1-hour, 45-minute workout. By the time players left the facility, almost half the parking lot was dry.
NUMBERS GAMEMemphis outscored the Thunder 31-14 on turnovers, 27-14 in fast-break points, 54-38 in the paint and 29-24 at the free-throw line, yet OKC still led by three points with one minute remaining in regulation and out-rebounded the Grizzlies, 58-36. “I thought our bigs did a great job of rebounding, and we played good defense,” Brooks said. “Our defense was good, but we turned the ball over. Five or six of them were layups, and that hurts your defensive field-goal percentage.” BY JOHN ROHDE
Playful Thunder preps its All-Stars