OKLAHOMA CITY -- After wasting half a season on the bench in New York, Malik Rose is cherishing his chance to contribute to some winning basketball in Oklahoma City.
Rose set season highs with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Nenad Krstic added 20 points as the Thunder continued their strong play without their two leading scorers, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 89-74 on Sunday night.
The Thunder surged ahead by outscoring Philadelphia 20-2 to start the second quarter, and the 76ers were never able to get closer than 10. Rose had eight of the Thunder's points in that stretch, while the 76ers went 1-for-9 from the field and committed six turnovers.
"Guys are out there scrapping. I think coach [Scott] Brooks and the rest of the coaching staff do a good job, sometimes too good of a job, of always reminding us that the season's not over and we've got to use every play to get better," Rose said.
"That's kind of like the mantra around here right now. We're doing it short-handed, but when we get back to 100 percent and get healthy, we should win some games."
Rose, a 13-year NBA veteran with two championship rings from his days in San Antonio, logged a total of 28 minutes in his final two months with the Knicks -- including a monthlong stretch when he didn't play at all. He surpassed that total with a season-high 31 minutes at New Orleans on Saturday, and followed that with his most productive outing of the season a day later.
"God is good. I just was happy to get out of New York," Rose said. "I thank [general manager] Sam [Presti] for bringing me here. Nothing against [Knicks president] Donnie [Walsh] and the people in New York, but I didn't have a chance to play there. I'm just happy I have a chance to play.
"I don't know how to put it into words. I'm just having fun and it's a great group of guys around here. I'm just excited, just really happy."
Andre Iguodala, who was averaging a team-best 18.1 points, was limited to nine on 3-for-11 shooting and committed six of Philadelphia's 21 turnovers. The 76ers were held to their second-lowest scoring total of the season. The only other times the Sixers were kept to less than 80 points were in losses to East leaders Cleveland and Boston.
Philadelphia has lost seven of 10 since the All-Star break and is seventh in the Eastern Conference.
"We didn't play well. We haven't been playing too well after the All-Star break," Iguodala said. "We kind of relaxed too much. We've got to get on pace or we could find ourselves in a bad position."
It was also the fewest points allowed by Oklahoma City this season.
"We are playing with a lot of tenacity," Brooks said. "We are a much better team with all our guys healthy, but we are on a good run right now."
For Rose, it was his best scoring outing since March 22, when he had 20 points for the New York Knicks against Minnesota. He was 4-for-6 in the pivotal second quarter after Oklahoma City had squandered an early eight-point lead by allowing the Sixers to close the first quarter on a 17-3 run.
Krstic's jumper from the left side capped the 20-2 run and put the Thunder ahead 38-26.
"They're a dangerous team," Rose said. "I just think we caught them on a night they didn't have it."
Iguodala hit a half-court shot just after the halftime buzzer, and officials checked a courtside monitor to confirm their decision. He also missed a half-court shot to end the third quarter. ... Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops attended the game and spent a few minutes chatting with Thunder coach Scott Brooks outside the home locker room before the game. ... Backup C Robert Swift was not with the Thunder for a second straight game for personal reasons. ... Actor Jim Caviezel also was at the game.
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