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xudy199234 5 years ago
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- With All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way, the Oklahoma City Thunder can outscore any team in the NBA on any given night. That still isnt good enough for a team with the highest of aspirations. Westbrook scored a season-high 37 points, Durant added 27 and Oklahoma City snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night with a 127-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves that did little to fix what was wrong during the skid. "A baby, minor step" was how Westbrook described it. "I think we could have (done) a better job defensively, but we got a win. Thats all we needed this time after losing three games in a row," he said. The Thunder avoided losing four in a row for the first time since April 2009, near the end of their first season in Oklahoma City, but were hardly better on defence after allowing 113.7 points per game during their longest losing streak of the season. Instead, they relied on an offence that regained the NBA lead in scoring average while shooting 58 per cent. It was the Thunders second-best shooting performance of the season, behind only a 60.6 per cent effort in a win at Brooklyn in December. "That was good offensively. Offensively I dont think is our problem," said Westbrook, who had nine of Oklahoma Citys 28 assists. "Weve just got to find a way to continue to get stops." Alexey Shved led Minnesota with 17 points, and Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham had 15 points apiece. The Timberwolves shot 53 per cent in the first half but couldnt keep up that pace and wound up hitting on 43 per cent after halftime. Seven Timberwolves reached double figures in points, and leading scorer Nikola Pekovic wasnt one of them. "Tonight we moved the ball better, we attacked better. I think we were a little more aggressive," said J.J. Barea, who had 12 of his 14 points in the first half. "We just couldnt stop them." Kevin Martin had 19 points off the bench for the Thunder, who went 9 for 14 from 3-point range and hit all 22 of their free throws. Oklahoma City came in first in the league in foul shooting and second in 3-point accuracy. "We made a lot of shots and shot a good percentage," coach Scott Brooks said. "Im not thrilled with our defence." The Thunder doubled their lead by scoring the first six points of the second half and then used a couple more bursts during the third quarter to start opening the gap. Kendrick Perkins hit a jumper in the lane to finish a string of seven straight Oklahoma City points, making it 87-70 midway through the third. Then, after an immediate 9-0 response by Minnesota, Westbrook had three buckets during an 8-0 flurry by Oklahoma City to push the lead right back to 16. The Timberwolves never got closer than nine after that, cutting it to 120-111 on Luke Ridnours two free throws with 1:40 remaining. It was just the fifth time all season that Minnesota eclipsed 110 points, and one of those came in overtime. Greg Stiemsma and Ricky Rubio had 13 points apiece, and Ridnour chipped in 10. Rubio also had nine assists and five steals. "If we play on offence like that every night, were going to have better chances to win games. So hopefully we carry this on to the next game," Barea said. Oklahoma Citys midseason swoon had come on suddenly after a run of four straight wins by at least 20 points that matched a franchise record. "It was good to get a win. We had a tough little stretch there. It happens, though, so Im glad we were able to get out of that little funk we were in and get a W," Durant said. "We still can be a lot better." Neither team put up much resistance in the first half, with both teams shooting over 60 per cent through the first 21 1/2 minutes before a stretch when Minnesota missed six out of seven shots to allow Oklahoma City to expand its lead to 66-58 at halftime. The Thunder led by as many as 13 midway through the second quarter, but the Timberwolves were able to trim the deficit to 57-54 after making 10 of 11 attempts from the field. In the first half, Minnesotas reserves were a combined 16 for 18 from the field and the team overall was 23 for 43. Oklahoma City clamped down a bit to start to create some breathing room, and Minnesota went just 12 of 30 to start the second half while falling further behind. "We know we have 27 games to figure it out, so we just have to keep taking steps in those kind of situations and just get better," Martin said. "We have to get better. We know that," he added. "But we will." NOTES: After trading away Eric Maynor, Oklahoma City is down to only two point guards on the roster. If Westbrook and backup Reggie Jackson both get into foul trouble, Brooks said he likes the option of putting Durant at the point. "Hes actually handled the ball more this year, bringing the ball up. As his career continues to evolve, hes going to be a point forward," Brooks said. "And I think this year -- even a little bit last year, but this year more -- hopefully next year its going to be even more. It just helps all of us. It takes the pressure off our ball-handlers when hes able to bring up the ball." ... Brooks said new addition Ronnie Brewer should get in a film session during practice Saturday. ... Oklahoma City, which lost its last game at Chesapeake Energy Arena to Miami, hasnt lost consecutive home games since dropping two of the first three games of the 2010-11 season. www.seahawksjerseyssale.com/T-shirts/ . Homer Bailey pitched seven solid innings and Cincinnati came up with just enough offence to squeeze out a 2-1 win for a three-game sweep of the Pirates. "I felt like it was a battle all night," Bailey said. www.seahawksjerseyssale.com/Golden-tate-jersey/ . Goldeyes shortstop Nate Samsons grand slam in the fourth inning to pace Winnipeg to a 10-5 victory over the Grand Prairie AirHogs before 1,292 fans at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Tex. http://www.seahawksjerseyssale.com/Obrien-schofield-jersey/ . 18 Ohio State had more than enough talent left behind. Joe Bauserman, a quarterback starting his first game in eight years, ran for a touchdown and threw for three to tight end Jake Stoneburner to lead No. www.seahawksjerseyssale.com/Shaun-alexander-jersey/ . Looking to lead his team into the playoffs, Curry scored 30 points and the Warriors won easily for the second straight night, 93-72 over the struggling New Orleans Hornets on Monday. "This is a game that validates last night, how big a win that was for us to start the road trip," Curry said, alluding to Golden States 30-point victory at Houston on Sunday. www.seahawksjerseyssale.com/Braylon-edwards-jersey/ . Canada (3-2) went on an 11-0 scoring run started by a pair of Cory Joseph free throws with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter. Joseph accounted for six of the next eight points and a three-pointer by Brady Heslip at 2:25 cut the deficit to 60-57 before Venezuela called a timeout.FORT WORTH, Texas -- NASCAR came down hard with far-reaching penalties against Penske Racing on Wednesday, with six-race suspensions for seven crew members of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano along with $200,000 in fines for bringing unapproved parts to Texas Motor Speedway for last weekends race. Each driver and car owner was docked 25 championship points, dropping Keselowski from second to fourth in the Cup standings and Logano from ninth 14th. Along with the steep fines, Keselowski crew chief Paul Wolfe and Logano crew chief Todd Gordon were suspended for the next six championship points races and placed on probation for the rest of the calendar year. Also suspended and put on probation were Travis Geisler, who serves as team manager for both cars, and the individual car chiefs and team engineers for the two cars. NASCAR also announced penalties for Martin Truex Jr. and Ron Hornaday Jr., but the Penske suspensions were by far the biggest news of the day. Penske Racing vowed to appeal, a move that would put any suspensions on hold. "Penske Racing will appeal utilizing the appropriate NASCAR process," the team said. "We have no further comment at this time." NASCAR inspectors confiscated the original rear-end housing with suspension parts from Keselowskis No. 2 Ford and Loganos No. 22 before Saturday nights race, causing a pre-race scramble for both teams. Logano was late to the starting grid because of additional inspections and had to start at the back of the field. He recovered to finish fifth and Keselowski was ninth. Keselowski was livid following the race. "The things Ive seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and Im not happy about it," Keselowski said. "I have one good thing to say, and that was my team and the effort they put in today, in fighting back with the absolute (expletive) thats been the last seven days in this garage area." NASCAR said both Penske cars used parts that had not been approved before getting to Texas. With the team manager and the engineers of both cars also being suspended, the penalties against the Penske teams went further than last season, when Jimmie Johnsons No. 48 car failed the opening day inspection at the Daytona 500. Five-time championshiip winning crew chief Chad Knaus and the car chief for that Hendrick Motorsports car were suspended for six races.dddddddddddd Knaus still had to pay a $100,000 fine, but the bulk of the penalties levied against him and the car chief were later overturned by NASCARs chief appellate officer, the highest level of appeal. Johnson also got back 25 points that had been docked. Logano said Wednesday on NASCAR Race Hub that the fines and penalties wont be a distraction for Penske Racing. "We can definitely move ahead. We are ready for that and obviously we have talked a lot about it," said Logano, whose appearance on the Speed Channel show was previously scheduled. "Penske Racing has a lot of depth inside the company, and we can make adjustments to make sure we still run well. "I think it goes to show we made some adjustments before the race started and we still were able to come home with a top-five finish," he said, also noting Keselowskis top-10 finish. "Proud of that effort in Texas, and especially after all of the adversity there. I think it says a lot about our company." Keselowski, who has six top-10 finishes, got a penalty a week earlier at Martinsville for pitting outside his stall. He still disputes that. "Theres so much stuff going on. You guys have no idea ... whats going on," Keselowski said Saturday night. "I could tell you there is nobody, no team in this garage with the integrity of the 2 team. And the way weve been treated over the last seven days is absolutely shameful." NASCAR didnt punish Keselowski for his post-race rant. Keselowski spent Tuesday at the White House, where President Barack Obama honoured him and his crew for winning the Sprint Cup championship. Truex, who finished second at Texas behind Kyle Busch, was punished for having a front end that was too low. He and owner Michael Waltrip were each docked six points and crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until June 5. The points deduction dropped Truex from 16th to 19th heading into this weekends race at Kansas. NASCAR fined Hornaday $25,000 and docked him 25 points for spinning Darrell Wallace Jr. under caution in Sundays Truck Series race at Rockingham. Hornadays team, NTS Motorsports, said it wouldnt appeal the penalties. cheap jerseys ' ' ' 
zakbowden1 24 days ago
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