The Oklahoma City Thunder did not have a formal practice today but most all of the players showed up at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center to get some shots up, workout and watch film
Head coach Scott Brooks met with reporters and again was amazed at the crowd that welcomed the team charter home from San Antonio VERY early this morning.
“It was great, it’s amazing that they’re out there that late (early?) you never get tired of that.”
About 500 people were at the airport hoping this will be the last time the welcome a flight home from San Antonio, fans are hoping tomorrow night’s game at The Peake will close out the series and bring the NBA Finals to Oklahoma City.
Thunder players and coaches though will not change their approach nor their preparation.
“It’s not something we just say, it’s something we believe in, it’s one game, one day and you have to focus on that,” Brooks said, “it’s always the first to four in a series, we have three games so we have one more to go. We have a great opportunity we’re on our home floor but that doesn’t guarantee automatic victory. They’re no gonna just give us the game.”
After losing the first two games of the series the Thunder have been doing all the taking, taking it right to the Spurs and San Antonio hasn’t been able to come up with answers that work.
Still Brooks expects to get whatever best shot the Spurs have left.
“They’re a good team, they’re talented, they’re deep, they have great experience, they’re gonna play hard like they always do and we’re gonna play hard like we always do. Both of us are trying to figure out ways to play better.”
After those two losses Brooks and his players said that would be the main adjustment they would need to make, just play better and everything would work out. Of course Brooks tossed in some coaching moves too that have helped right what had appeared to be a sinking ship but mostly it has come down to the Thunder simply playing better than the Spurs in these last three games.
“We’ve done a good job with that the last few games,” Brooks admitted, “and we should continue to improve and to get better. These are young guys and they should get better and they will get better because they work extremely hard and they care about each other.”
Amazingly as the playoffs have unfolded two of the Thunder’s biggest problem areas during the regular season, a lack of assists and a surplus of turnovers, have apparently been solved. The team is taking care of the basketball and sharing it too. Role players have stepped up, different ones most every night. Thabo with his 19 points and six assists one night. The Thunder bigs looking like the Big 3 the next. Daequan Cook coming off the bench where he’s been sitting the whole series to nail two 3-pointers and score eight points in the span of four minutes.
It has been an amazing sight to see.
“Our guys they have really high expectations of themselves both individually and as a team. We don’t talk about it, we don’t pound our chests, we don’t tell everybody how good we are. We feel our worth is through our work and if we continue to work hard and play together we’re gonna have some good results.”
The best result so far might very well come tomorrow night when the Thunder can close out the mighty Spurs and bring the biggest event Oklahomans have ever seen to Sooner State soil…the NBA Finals.