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A Thunder first - a real streak


A Thunder first - a real streak
It took 61 games, but the Oklahoma City Thunder finally has itself a winning streak.

Three previous times this year, the Thunder had won two consecutive games, but it could never count to three.

In big-time sports vernacular, two straight victories do not a winning streak make.

Thunder television play-by-play Brian Davis calls two straight wins "a nice little run."

The Thunder finally hit the trifecta with an 88-83 victory Wednesday night over the Washington Wizards inside the Ford Center. ]

Sure, the Wizards stink, but it still counts.

Given the Thunder's current health status, you're darn right it counts.

Wednesday was a showdown between the only two NBA teams without a three-game winning streak this season.

With starters Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Desmond Mason out with injuries for both teams, this one was a bit of an eyesore.

This was a night you needed a roster for both teams. You wondered who the players were and from whence they came.

While the Thunder started little-known Kyle Weaver and Thabo Sefolosha, the Wizards countered with Andray Blatche, Darius Songaila and Dominic McGuire.

(A free car wash to anyone able to name their places of origin.)

The Thunder used the same starting lineup to beat the 14-46 Wizards that it used to beat the 36-23 Dallas Mavericks two nights earlier in the Ford Center.

Ask Thunder coach Scott Brooks to explain a win, any win, and he'll relentlessly use the word "effort."

Ask him to explain a loss, any loss, and he'll use the word again.

"You can never be satisfied with your effort," Brooks said. "I think when you do that you have a tendency to relax."

Brooks preaches the effort must remain constant, whether Durant, Green and Mason are in the lineup or in street clothes.

"When you lose those kind of guys, it heightens the urgency a little bit," Weaver said.

Plenty of NBA teams galvanize when they're shorthanded.

The Thunder has done it wonderfully the last two games.

That works vice versa, too.

Three times earlier this year, the table was set for the Thunder to mop up on shorthanded teams of similar ilk - Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento.

In December, the Warriors were without Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette and won by 10 at the Ford Center.

In January, the Clippers were without Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman and won by three at home.

In February, the Kings were without Brad Miller and Beno Udrih and won by four in overtime at home.

On Wednesday, the Thunder survived the battle of the shorthanded.

"It reinforces that if you do things the right way, you have a good chance to win, no matter who's out there," said Thunder forward Nick Collison, who had 12 points, 10 rebounds and didn't miss a shot against the Wizards (5 for 5 from the field; 2 for 2 from the line). "Something like this proves that everybody in this league can play. A lot of this league is about opportunity."

In what could have been a bleak time, lesserknown Thunder players have seized that opportunity.

Don't look now, but the Thunder is 2-0 without Durant and Green in the lineup.

Brooks joked those two players will have to earn their way back into the starting lineup once they're healthy.

"Nah, that'd be a quick way to get my job outta here," said a smiling Brooks, flashing his thumb and gesturing like a baseball umpire.

John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 7, 2009

 

 
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