Thunder Work Overtime In Practice
By Randy Renner
After two terrible defensive performances on the road the Thunder came back home to their longest practice session of the season, just shy of three hours.
"We had 45 minutes, maybe an hour on the court and then we went into the film room which was good I think we needed 'em both today," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks after the session.
"We needed to get back on the court, feel the basketball, smell the gym but we also wanted to get some improvement at what we need to get better at in the film room and I think we did that."
We'll know soon enough. The Thunder will be back at The Peake playing one of the better offenses and hottest teams in the NBA Tuesday night when the Houston Rockets come in.
The Thunder had one of the biggest turn around games in the history of the NBA the last time these teams met, when Houston scored 72 points in the first half and just 19 in the second.
"We have to compete and be on point defensively every time down court. They have one of the premier big guys in the league and they have really good players on the perimeter that can break you down."
Recently the Thunder have been broken down plenty by players no where near the talent level of Dwight Howard and James Harden so it will be fascinating to watch how much better the Thunder handle the challenge of playing defense.
Oklahoma City is just 3-5 coming out of the All-Star break. They only game during that stretch the Thunder played well on the defensive end was in a blowout win over Philadelphia, arguably the worst team in the NBA.
As usual, Brooks wouldn't fall back on the fact that OKC is suffering through this without their two best defensive players, Thabo Sefolosha out on the perimeter Kendrick Perkins down low and insisting there are other guys who can pick up the considerable slack.
"I know there's an adjustment period and we're willing to embrace that challenge. Right now we have to get better without those two guys. We don't know when they're coming back so we have to find ways to improve and get better on that end. We still have enough defensive guys that we should be able to get back to the level we're capable of playing."
Brooks said for now he plans to continue to start Perry Jones for Sefolosha and Steven Adams for Perkins but he also left the door open to some possible tinkering with that shooting guard spot.
The big thing is going to be actually finding those "defensive guys" Scotty was talking about because no one matching that description has been seen in Thunderland since right before the All-Star break.