Thunder's Chucky Atkins making an impact

By Darnell Mayberry Published: March 11, 2009
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uot;I’ve got to be the same person every day, whether I’m playing 40 minutes or not at all. That’s the way I’ve always approached things.”

Westbrook, who has bolstered his case for Rookie of the Year over the past 2 1/2 months, said Atkins’ positive attitude has rubbed off and been a welcomed addition.

"He has a lot of knowledge,” Westbrook said. "He’s been in the league for a while, and anything he says is always positive and always helps us out ... It helps, especially when games are tight. He’s watching the games and he knows what’s going on.”

Atkins started the season in Denver stuck behind Allen Iverson and backup Anthony Carter after a knee injury eliminated him from contention for the Nuggets’ backup point guard position. And when Denver traded Iverson for Chauncey Billups early in the season, the Nuggets’ point guard situation became more stable and Atkins’ playing time became even scarcer.

Now, Atkins’ message to his Thunder teammates is one of perseverance.

"My whole thing is just to stick with it,” said Atkins, who went undrafted out of South Florida in 1996. "Don’t necessarily dwell on the bad. Search out for the positives in everything because ultimately that’s what keeps you around.”


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Thunder at Nuggets
When: 8 tonight

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Ch. 37)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM, Sirius 126

Live blog: http://www.newsok.com/sports/thunder

Three things to know
→Denver has lost three straight and five of its past six games.

→The Thunder is 3-7 against divisional opponents this season and 0-2 against Denver.

→Before Tuesday’s game, center Nenad Krstic was averaging 16.4 in the five games without leading scorer Kevin Durant.

Probable starters

Thunder (17-46)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast
G Russell Westbrook 6-3 15.8 4.8 5.1
G Thabo Sefolosha 6-7 10.4.5.7 2.1
F Jeff Green 6-9 17.2 7.0 2.1
F Nick Collison 6-10 8.0 6.9 0.9
C Nenad Krstic 7-0 9.9 5.5 0.7
Nuggets (40-25)
G Chauncey Billups 6-3 18.9 2.7 6.0
G Dahntay Jones 6-6 5.6 2.3 1.0
F Carmelo Anthony 6-8 22.1 7.2 3.3
F Kenyon Martin 6-9 12.1 6.2 2.2
C Nene Hilario 6-11 14.6 7.9 1.5
* Stats and records through Monday’s games

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