Fast Break Points- May 21 Notebook

Rebounding has been the name of the game in this series, and despite the Lakers having an advantage on the glass overall in the series, the Thunder has done a good job of getting them when they count and limiting the number the Lakers can get. Center Kendrick Perkins had five rebounds in the fourth quarter alone in Game 4, and Head Coach Scott Brooks said that type of effort will be needed again in Game 5.

“Every rebound Perk got in that second half was so critical and even on the offensive rebound, he got the tip to put us up,” Brooks said. “Every rebound he gets is important because those bigs, they’re 7’1 they’re strong and they’re relentless on the offensive glass.”

Brooks explained that against the likes of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, two of the tallest and biggest players in the NBA, Thunder big men like Perkins and Serge Ibaka not only have to fend off their men with box outs, but also go and secure the rebound after. The Thunder post players were also aided by guards like Russell Westbrook’s pressure on the perimeter, and a massive offensive rebound and jumper by Russell Westbrook in the midst of the Thunder’s 25-9 closing run.

“He has a knack to get those big offensive rebounds,” Brooks said. “He jumps over the bigs, he comes out of nowhere and he’s sneaky quick. His athleticism is off the charts.”

Below are the Fast Break Points from Monday's shootaround as the Thunder prepares for Game 5 in its Round 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Playoffs.

- Brooks said that all of his players are good and healthy going into tonight, and Nick Collison revealed that his injury during Game 4 was just a cut on his head that required three stitches.

- Collison said the Thunder has done a good job of executing its defensive game plan in the post. Bynum and Gasol are going to get some buckets but they have to just box out and make it tough. Collison praised Perkins’ ability to stay between Bynum and the basket, saying that his decision to front is based on the offensive set. Defensively down the stretch the Thunder made the Lakers take tough shots and Perkins was big on the rebounds, holding them to one shot.

- When asked about the San Antonio Spurs advancing to the Western Conference finals, Collison said that the Thunder has to beat the Lakers first before even thinking a second about the Spurs. The Thunder is focused on winning this one and not thinking past tonight. The Thunder will focus on how they play, not worried about what other people say. Gasol, Bynum and Kobe are great players, so the Thunder has to play well against all their guys.

- Brooks says the Thunder wants to defend and defend without fouling so it can get the rebound and push the tempo. The Thunder can’t foul because it then has to take the ball out of the net and the Lakers can set their defense.

- In reference to some late-game comebacks, Brooks said you don’t want to let yourself get down by that much but you have to stay within striking distance. You learn from your opponents, which they did against Dallas. Late in games, you just want to get a good shot, execute your offense and defensively you make sure they don’t get a good shot and keep them off the glass.

- Brooks responded “Next question please”, jokingly, when asked about the low number of turnovers for the Thunder. Brooks explained that playing simple and having great spacing, focusing at a higher level, coming off screens harder, delivering the ball on target and not driving into a crowd have all been reasons for the low turnover numbers.


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