Thunder Practice Report - March 24, 2011

Back on the winning track the Oklahoma City Thunder worked on a variety of little things during this morning’s practice session.

“We just did a lot of stretching and weight lifting,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks. “And then we ran our offense just to make everybody more familiar with what we’re doing, just continuing to integrate our new players. We ran a little 3-on-3 and shot a bunch of free throws. I thought for what we did practice was really good.”

Brooks was still impressed with the effort his players showed Wednesday night against Utah. Especially some of the things Thabo Sefolosha did on the defensive end.

“Thabo’s defense was really good. He had their players in fits because he wasn’t giving anything easy and he was just relentless,” Brooks said. “And Serge was good, he was rebounding and protecting the basket. Everybody did a good job of helping us get the win.”

Sefolosha was given high praise by center Kendrick Perkins for his play. Thabo told reporters Perkins is making his job a little easier.

“His presence out there, he helps the whole team,” Sefolosha said of Perkins, “He also helps Serge (Ibaka) be able to block more shots and now all of us wing guys are able to pressure our guys more knowing that we have this guy (Perkins) back under the basket.”

The Thunder is now 9-2 against teams from the Northwest Division and another division rival will be in town Friday night and then another on Sunday. The Minnesota Timberwolves provide the opposition Friday but they will be without their best player, forward Kevin Love, who did not make the trip because of a groin injury.

“You just worry about not coming into the game focused,” Brooks said. “Not to say that I’m really worried about that but this is always a coach’s concern every night. But our players are usually always very good about that. We always respect our opponent and even though Minnesota doesn’t have the record they’d like they could still come in and win the basketball game if our concentration level is not there.”

Some would say the game with the T-Wolves is a classic trap game, a bad team coming in without their lone star player and a big time opponent (Portland) coming in on Sunday.

“We know Portland is a team that’s playing good basketball,” Brooks admitted. “but we’ve never had that problem where we’re overlooking a team because we have a ‘big game’ coming up the next game. I’ve always told the guys every game is our test and we have to do a good job with this game tonight and so Minnesota is our next test where we have to give great effort and play together as a team.”
The Timberwolves are just 5-30 on the road and they’ll face a stout test in Dallas tonight so they will be coming into Oklahoma City playing the second night of a back-to-back.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can watch all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.