Marathon Practice Session For Thunder

By Randy Renner

The Oklahoma City Thunder worked about as long as they've ever worked in a practice session. It was supposed to have started at about 11 o'clock and didn't end until around 3.

Much of the work involved looking at film and going over very detailed scouting reports.

"You have a lot more time to prepare, a lot more film," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks afterwards. "On the court today we probably did may an hour and 10 minutes or so of work. Most of the time we were here was looking at film. There wasn't a lot of physical work, it was much more mental."

In the regular season teams don't generally have very much time to prepare, especially when they're playing the second night of a back-to-back or the fourth game in five nights.

In the playoffs each team has plenty of time to focus in on the little things, they're already pretty familiar with the big things.

"There are so many layers of the film session," Brooks said, "on what we do, what they do, how can we improve what we do against them."

During the regular season the Thunder did pretty well, winning three of the four games. Two of them were low scoring, defensive struggles and the other two got into triple digits.

"We want it to be a basketball game, we wanna be physical also but we wanna play within the rules and execute our game plan."

That will include taking advantage of the mismatch Kevin Durant provides and as Memphis throws all kinds of different defensive looks at him it will be important for KD to recognize when to pass to open shooters.

"He's seen it all (when it comes to defenses). He's seen a double from the top, a double from the bottom, double from a small, double from a big, double from the low man," Brooks recited. "He's just seen it all and he's done a really great job over the last two years of finding open teammates and that helps our offense."

It helps so much that Brooks invites double teams from an opponent.

"We want teams to double team (Durant) that helps guys get open shots."

With Westbrook in the mix again teams will have dual headaches so the opportunity will be even greater for shooters out on the wings, like Caron Butler and Derek Fisher. Butler didn't play in any of OKC's games against Memphis this season but he's shooting almost 50% on threes over his last five games and is close to that also during the time he's been with the Thunder. Fisher shot 45.5% on long balls against Memphis.

The Thunder will have shootaround tomorrow and then be ready to go. The Grizzlies were flying to OKC late this afternoon and will also have shootaround tomorrow.

Randy RennerComment