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Thunder's Thabo Sefolosha sacrifices offense for defense

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, Modified: December 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm •  Published: December 10, 2011

The man who tied for seventh in scoring on the Thunder roster last season was his team's leading scorer in the Euroleague during the offseason.

Guard Thabo Sefolosha led his Turkish League team in scoring (11.4), rebounding (6.0) and steals (2.1) in 26.3 minutes per game.

Last season with the Thunder, he averaged 5.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 25.9 minutes.

For an NBA starter to lead a Euro team is expected, but the vision of Sefolosha leading his team in scoring no doubt would turn a few American heads.

This was not a head-turner for Thunder coach Scott Brooks, however.

Brooks knows Sefolosha's offensive capabilities. He also knows the offensive opportunities Sefolosha frequently sacrifices.

When you're teammates with a two-time scoring champ in Kevin Durant, a lethal combo guard in Russell Westbrook, a scoring threat off the bench in James Harden and a budding star in Serge Ibaka, there is no need for Sefolosha to excel offensively.

Contribute? Yes. Excel? No.

“When you have a good team, you need sacrifice from all players, and I will say Thabo sacrifices every night his body and parts of his game,” Brooks said after Saturday's morning practice sessions. “It (scoring) is something that we don't look for him to do.”

Brooks said all his players sacrifice something for the team. Durant, Westbrook and Harden are scoring plenty, but would have no problem looking to score more.

Center Kendrick Perkins was acquired in a trade with Boston last season in part because he couldn't care less about how many shots he gets.

“We can't have everybody looking to score,” Brooks said. “We have enough scoring. We have to keep looking for ways to score. Thabo, Nick (Collison), Perk, Serge, Kevin, Russell — they all have to sacrifice. Sacrifices have to be made.”

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