The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

October 30, 2013

Thunder open regular season tonight without Westbrook

NORMAN — After winning 60 games last season and holding the best record in the Western Conference, Oklahoma City is no longer the young darling of the NBA. In less than five months, the L.A. Clippers, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors have replaced them as the teams to beat in the West.

That makes the 2012-13 campaign one in which the Thunder are not just looking to get back to the NBA finals, but prove a lot of people wrong who believe their window for a title run has closed.

It begins at 8 p.m. tonight when the Thunder face off with the Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

“I think we are all excited to play against somebody other than each other,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to start the season. We know what we have to do. We know some of the important things we want to get accomplished.”

However, the Thunder will not be at full strength. All-star point guard Russell Westbrook is still healing from surgery of the lateral meniscus tear he suffered during the playoffs. He is not expected back for a few weeks.

Despite that, Brooks wants to see his team continue to play at the same pace and intensity without one of their floor generals in the lineup.

“We have a style of play we want to show whoever we played every night,” Brooks said. “It’s important that we continue to play our style. We have a core group of guys that have had a lot of success together, but you can’t just rest on them expect that it will continue to happen night in, night out. You still have to execute and play for one another.”

One of the reasons Brooks thinks his team can ride along without Westbrook for a time being has been the emergence of third year pro Reggie Jackson. The 6-3 guard out of Boston College replaced Westbrook in the starting lineup during postseason and become a critical part of the rotations.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • North girls escape with win over ESF

    EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Tigers take series with Timberwolves

    Heather Jones made her final Crosstown Clash contest a game to remember....

    April 18, 2014

  • T-Wolves take over late

    EDMOND — Had it ended the way it looked like it was going to end, Norman North boys coach Geo Claros was prepared not to be too upset. He liked the way his team was staying after it, even if he didn’t like how it continued a season-long ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Pistons Thunder Basketball Thunder go all out against Pistons

    OKLAHOMA CITY —  Heading into the final game of the regular season, Oklahoma City coach didn't want to hear anything about a night off. With his team riding a two-game losing streak and fighting for playoff positioning, he treated it like a playoff game.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Clash tennis Timberwolves win girls’ Clash before boys’ dual ends in a draw

    And Crosstown Clash tennis dominance goes too … Norman North, sort of....

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fuller Westmoore's Fuller signs with Oklahoma Christian

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Tripp Fuller was looking for a school that fit him. One where the Westmoore senior would feel at home at....

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • North nearer to filling coaching vacancies

    A host of coaching positions in Norman are open for next year....

    April 17, 2014

  • Injuries taking a toll on CCS girls squad

    If luck, like karma, is supposed to come back around, Community Christian’s girls soccer team has a lot to look forward to because, right now, they’re living the other side of the equation....

    April 16, 2014

  • Tigers suffer smashing loss to Stillwater in second meeting

    Monday’s game against Stillwater showed exactly how good Norman High can be when it’s playing well. The Tigers held a lead in that game over 21-1 Stillwater, and had a chance to win it before the Pioneers staged a late comeback....

    April 16, 2014

  • North remains perfect in district

    Norman North remained a perfect 10-0 in district play with their second straight win over Lawton Eisenhower. After beating Ike 11-1 Monday, the Timberwolves turned around and hammered the Eagles 13-1 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014