Call them the dynamic duo, call them the Russian assassians, rookie Alexey Shved and veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko have quickly become forces on opposite ends of the floor.
Kirilenko is making things happen on the defensive end, setting the tone guarding the opposing teams best perimiter player.
"He worked for it," said head coach Rick Adelman about Kevin Durant's 33 points. "He gets and open shot and he makes it. It's just like it's automatic."
Kirilenko will need to step up even more with the news that Josh Howard was released after he tore the ACL in his right knee.
"We know we can do a great job even with the great teams," said Kirilenko. "If we stay together and we execute our plan for the game, we can be good. I think it's a real big confidence when you win this type of game."
Shved played the best game of his young pro career against Oklahoma City scoring 12 points and dishing 12 assists, the majority in the first half when the team continued to look for second and third options in their offensive sets.
"That's who he is," said Adelman. "He has been in big games and he is going to have times in this league where it is going to be tough for him. Just like all young guys in this league fo but it's how you respond to it."
Shved struggled Tuesday night against Dwayne Wade and Miami, but set the tone against the Thunder.
Kirilenko played 39 minutes against Oklahoma City, all of them against Durant, which was the game plan going in.
"When Durant stayed in, he was going to stay in," said Adelman. "I just felt he was our best option against him. It kind of wears him out, but I told him next game you've got an easy one in (Carmello) Anthony. He's had LeBron, Durant, Anthony."
With all of the injuries to this team, it has been the two Russians that have been the glue that have held the team together and have kept them on a playoff pace.