By Randy Renner
Thunder guard Reggie Jackson, who sprained his right ankle early in Game 4 Tuesday night said after the game he fully expects to play in Thursday's Game 6 and Thunder head coach Scott Brooks didn't send anyone off in a different direction yesterday.
"Reggie's feeling pretty good today," Brooks told reporters after his team's practice.
Jackson spent most of the session with trainers and so did power forward Serge Ibaka who continues to recover from that strained left calf and the rest of the Thunder didn't do a whole lot of court work anyway.
"He's holding up pretty good," Brooks said. "He's had two really good games, impactful games on both ends. We're not doing a lot between days as a group, not just Serge but as a group."
Unless there's some sort of setback it sounds like the Thunder can count on Jackson being able to go again at that shooting guard spot that now appears to be his for at least the duration of the Western Conference Finals and perhaps beyond. Ibaka also should be good to go.
As for the lack of court work, well at this point, no one wants to tire out their players at practice, it's pretty much all about watching film and studying every move and nuance of your opponent.
"It's mainly classroom work and trying to get better through the film than on the court," Brooks noted, "and then some of the guys that haven't played a lot of minutes are on the court. But he hasn't done much in between games, but that's pretty normal for all of our guys."
Down in San Antonio some are calling for some lineup changes (sound familiar Thunder fans?) but head coach Gregg Popovich probably said it best, "it's not about adjustments, it's about playing harder and smarter."
Pop stressed his guys have to be better.
It's the same message we here in Oklahoma City have usually heard from Brooks when the Thunder fail to live up to expectations or predictions and we heard it again Wednesday.
"We have to play better and we have to play with maximum effort," Brooks said, though it might be hard to improve upon either of those categories compared to Game 4.
Brooks does have those pesky six or seven minutes of the fourth quarter when the Thunder went from up 27 to up by just a dozen.
"I think you have to have your coverages in check throughout the game against a team that has so many offensive weapons, and with that coverages you have to have the great effort because they go hand in hand," Brooks said "If you don't have one, you don't do your coverages with great effort, they're not going to help you out."
That's part of what happened in the fourth quarter when the Thunder went into relax mode. This time though the lead remained in double digits and the win remained secure.
For Game 5 the Thunder will focus all their efforts to get the win, they know in order to win the series they have to win a game in San Antonio and they all figure there's no need to wait all the way to a possible Game 7, just go for the gusto now and then hope you can close the deal on your home floor Saturday night.