Practice Report: Thunder Looks Ahead to Game 3

The Thunder returned to the INTEGRIS Health Training Center on Friday, feeling good about evening its best-of-seven series with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night but remaining focused on the bigger picture.

"I would hope everyone realizes how important each one of these games are," Thunder forward Nick Collison said when asked if there is any tendency for a team to exhale after getting one win. "We're in the Western Conference Finals. There's a lot on the line and Dallas, we have a tough time with them. They're a great team. I wouldn't think we'll have that. I would think we'll be ready to go Game 3."

Add guard Eric Maynor: "We're trying to do something bigger than just reach the Western Conference Finals and tie it up 1-1."

Game 3 is Saturday night in the Oklahoma City Arena. Game time is 8 p.m. and will air live on ESPN and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder vowed to make adjustments following a 121-112 defeat in Game 1 and lived up to its promise. The Thunder challenged nearly every shot, battled for every rebound, dove on the floor for loose balls and got 50 points from its bench in a 106-100 victory in Game 2, handing the Mavericks their first defeat in seven playoff games played at the American Airlines Center.

But that was Thursday night. The Thunder prides itself in moving on to the next game. It is the approach the team has used since Brooks became the head coach, whether it's in the regular season or the playoffs. So the focus in practice Friday was on Game 3.

"We watched film. We made some adjustments and are gong to make some adjustments going into next game," Brooks said. "But today's practice was just about Game 3."

The Thunder will continue to challenge the Mavericks' shooters defensively without fouling. The Thunder sent the Mavericks to the free-throw line 36 times in Game 1 -- forward Dirk Nowitzki set a NBA Playoffs record with 24 consecutive free throws in that game -- and reduced that number to 24 in Game 2.

"We were able to push them off of spots a little bit, but we kept our hands out of there," Collison said. "When you touch guys with the hands as opposed to your body, they're more likely to get fouled. But I think overall we competed hard and our defense at the point of the ball was better, which led to us being in better position to fight him (Nowitzki) off his spot a little bit more. It's just an accumulation, I think, of more effort and better play."