Thunder's Nenad Krstic starting to make big impact

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Modified: March 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm •  Published: March 5, 2009

/> "When he does that, it helps us,” Brooks said. "He’s obviously a great shooter, and he spaces the floor. But when we’re playing good basketball, he’s in the middle either contesting shots or getting rebounds for us so we can bust out and run.”

The Thunder improved to 16-45 and won its third straight game for the first time this season behind its renewed defensive efforts. Oklahoma City held Washington to 40 percent shooting and out-rebounded the Wizards, 41-30.

It’s no coincidence that during the three-game winning streak the Thunder has held all three opponents to 92 points or less and two teams shot 42 percent or less. During the previous seven-game losing streak, the Thunder gave up an average of 114.4 points and allowed teams to shoot 48 percent or better five times.

The defensive effort, coupled with a collective offensive attack has helped the Thunder overcome the loss of injured forwards and leading scorers Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

All five starters scored in double figures Wednesday. Thabo Sefolosha had 15 points. Westbrook, Nick Collison and Kyle Weaver scored 12 apiece.

"Everybody feels they have to step their game up,” Weaver said. "You’ve got two of your guys out, and it’s points out there. It’s rebounds out there. There are opportunities out there on the floor.”

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