By Randy Renner
Some new year's cheer might be on the way for Thunder fans.
For the first time since spraining his ankle against Golden State, Kevin Durant participated in all of the Thunder's practice session on Monday. Head coach Scott Brooks seemed to like what he saw from his superstar forward.
"I thought he looked very lively and active on both ends of the floor. He's progressing well."
But Brooks didn't come close to saying Durant would be able to play in the New Year's Eve game against Phoenix, "We'll see how he feels (Tuesday) and we'll go from there, but he had a good practice."
Center Kendrick Perkins took it a little further than that when describing how Durant looked during a short scrimmage.
"He was on the white team and he scored 13 of their 17 points in like five minutes so he looked REAL good, real good."
Durant has missed six and a half games but now appears to be getting very close to a return and Perkins said he and KD's other teammates have been there for their injured leader.
"The biggest ting about when you've been hurt is you just gotta keep the guy involved in everything that you do." Perk said. "You let 'em have a voice in the film session, let 'em have a voice on the bench and every now and then you gotta go up to 'em and tell 'em 'hey man we miss you out here,' and that helps a guy out."
The Thunder could certainly use Durant's presence back on the floor, especially in late game situations in which the team continues to struggle.
Sunday night in Dallas though it wasn't so much the offensive miscues as what was happening on defense.
"We scored 107 points last night, you should win the game, but we kept messing up defensive assignments," Perkins said. "It's just happening too much."
Asked why those breakdowns are happening Perkins zeroed in on one thing.
"I think it's just being locked in, being focused. It takes five guys to play defense and it only takes one guy to mess up the whole defense each time and everything is messed up. So we just gotta be locked in and doin' your job and knowin' what you gotta do."
The defense will be tested Wednesday night when Phoenix comes to town. The Suns are rolling, right now on a six games winning streak and they're scoring a lot of points, so again defense will be the key to winning, or losing.