May 12th, 2013
Upbeat Thunder Preparing for Game 4

MEMPHIS – The goal for any team in a playoff series is simple: win one game on the road.

The Thunder still has that objective in site as it prepares for Game 4 Monday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies lead the best-of-seven, second-round series, 2-1.

“Going into every series, we know it’s the first to four who wins the series,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said following practice Sunday. “Right now they have two wins. We’ve got to come out with the same energy, the same focus and the same determination on the defensive end to give ourselves a chance to win. We’ve done that for three games. I expect the same mindset tomorrow night.”

The Thunder prides itself on its focus and its ability to treat every game as a single event. That approach -- the no high is too high, and no low is too low -- has been consistent under Brooks.

“We’ve always had that mentality. This is the most important game, the game we’re playing. Game 4,” he said. “We’re not worried about any other game.”

The Thunder reviewed film of Game 3 before hitting the practice court and saw many things it did well, especially its defensive effort and commitment. Add in low turnovers (12) and limiting the Grizzlies to just three second-chance points and the Thunder was in position to win a game in which it shot an uncharacteristic 36.4 percent.

“We’ve got to stick with it. We can’t get down on ourselves,” forward Kevin Durant said. ”We can’t feel sorry for ourselves and nobody is. We’ve got to stick with it and keep fighting. We’ve played hard basketball for three games, tough basketball, defensive basketball, but some things didn’t go right for us in these last two games. We’ll see what happens in the next game.”

Added Brooks: “This is a broken record, but I know we can hit shots. I’ve seen the ball go in the basket many, many times with our team and I have confidence that that will happen and hopefully soon.”

Brooks said he stressed to his players “you’ve got to be ready to make the next one, not worry about the last one. Our guys understand that.”

Veteran guard Kevin Martin agreed.

“We realize the only thing missing right now is us missing shots,” he said. “That’s something we’ve been doing all year. … We’re a confident group in shooting the ball and that’s what we have to display tomorrow night.”