Thunder Vow To Be Ready This Time

By Randy Renner

A second chance can be a wonderful thing and the Thunder get one tonight against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka could barely contain his excitement talking to reporters about the rematch yesterday.

"It's great, it's great, it's great," he said. "After what we did against them last game in L.A. it's great to get them back soon because I know we gonna do a better job. We respect them because they beat us and now we will do the best we can to play better basketball."

The Thunder showed what they're capable of, despite missing their two best defenders, in Tuesday's win over the high flying Houston Rockets. The Thunder held the Rockets to just 41.8 percent shooting, the first time they'd held a quality opponent that low in a month.

Tonight the Thunder will get another crack at the Lakers and especially Jodie Meeks. Meeks remember went off for a career-high 42 points on Sunday.

The last time Meeks played in OKC, back in December, he and his LA teammates were pretty meek. Meeks had just nine points on 3-for-16 shooting in a 122-97 blowout loss to the Thunder.

Sunday it was mighty Meeks getting those 42 points by hitting six 3-pointers and all 14 of his free throw attempts.

Despite their lousy record (22-42) the Lakers have been on a scoring roll lately and so has Meeks. He's averaging 19.2 points on 51.4 percent shooting over his last 11 games and the Lakers are averaging 115.3 points (13.3 above their season average) over their last six games.

Thunder head coach Scott Brooks cautioned everyone yesterday not to get too carried away yet about a full-fledged defensive revival.

"We're still just one game removed from not playing the way we wanna play night in and night out," he reminded reporters. "So we have to look at that (the Houston win) as just one game. We gotta come back and do the same thing (tonight)."

Things got very physical very fast Tuesday night against the Rockets and Thunder center Steven Adams is ready to bring the muscle tonight against Lakers big man Pau Gasol.

"I don't think he likes contact too much so I'm going to try and bump him up as much as possible," Adams said.

So early on, watch the battle down low with Adams and Gasol and the battle out on the perimeter with Meeks and everyone the Thunder can throw at him.