Playoffs Start Tonight

All of the film sessions, practices and walk-throughs are essential to the process, but now, it’s just time to play.

Head Coach Scott Brooks’ Thunder squad has practiced the past three days and used Sunday morning’s shoot-around to complete its preparation work heading into tonight’s Game One of the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets. The coaching staff gave lots of material to the players this week, which they have absorbed. Now when the team takes the floor tonight at 8:30 central time, it can play with its instincts.

“It’s game day,” Brooks said. “I thought we had a great three days of preparation. The focus, commitment to each other was at a high level. We’re excited about playing… I’m looking forward to tonight’s game, I’m looking forward to the excitement in our building and I’m looking forward to seeing our guys compete at the level I know they can compete at.”

As the game previews linked below from Friday and Saturday out-lined, the Thunder will be focused on its transition defense and making the Rockets work on every possession. On offense, the Thunder will stick to its identity, honing in on the things that got them to this point like sharing the ball and spacing the floor correctly. Most of all, the Thunder wants to play up to its high standards for effort, energy and intensity.

“We’re just trying to set the tone,” forward Kevin Durant said. “We have to come out tonight with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and make the second and third efforts and we’ll put ourselves in a position to win. We have to do the small things.”

As the last of the eight Playoff series to begin, the Thunder has spent the weekend in anticipation for tonight’s tip-off. Knowing that a raucous Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd awaits them tonight, Thunder players and coaches are anticipating a great atmosphere that will help them build momentum and then execute on both ends at its highest levels.

“ We’re looking forward to playing, especially on our home floor,” Durant said. “We’re all looking forward to this. We couldn’t wait to get here. We just have to relax and have fun with it and play the game.”