The Other Side: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder had the makings of a disaster at the start of last season, when it won just three of its first 32 games. But the Thunder was a second-half surprise under Coach Scott Brooks, going 20-30 the rest of the way -- including an 88-83 win over the Wizards last March -- and has continued to improve. The Thunder is already 6-6, with wins over Orlando, Miami and San Antonio and it is coming off a 108-94 loss in Orlando on Wednesday. Here's what else you need to know about the Thunder:
1. Folks in Washington already know that Kevin Durant is a budding but low-key star, but few realize that he is also in pursuit of his college degree -- so are Russell Westbrook and fellow D.C. area native Jeff Green. He ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring at 27.1 points per game - with the help of his foul line shoulder shimmy -- but after being held to a season-low 12 points against Orlando, Durant said he doesn't think he can win the scoring title.
2. Etan Thomas is back home in Oklahoma, where as a high school star in Tulsa, he was known as "Derrick," even though his given first name is Dedrick. Thomas has a new book of poetry coming out next spring, but he already is expressing himself in his blog on Hoopshype.com. He touches a range of topics, including team trainers or doctors who "consistently misdiagnose numerous players." Who could he be talking about?
3. Second-year point guard Russell Westbrook is a feisty, athletic, combo guard who wears No. 0, but he's never had the chance to play against the man who helped inspire his jersey number choice. As a matter of fact, Durant and Green have never faced Gilbert Arenas, either.
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