Thunder Rolling Into Six-Game Homestand
The Oklahoma City Thunder will be shooting for their season-best sixth straight win tonight when the Charlotte Bobcats come into Oklahoma City Arena.
During this streak defense has played a major role. In the Thunder’s 3-0 road trip they allowed opponents only 83 points a game and 37.3% shooting.
“We’re definitely playing good basketball,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks after this morning’s shoot-around. “Our defense has picked up we’re playing good the whole game now. We’ve stepped up and made good plays when we needed them, especially against Miami. We’re just really committed to doing the right things now every possession.”
Now that Kendrick Perkins is starting at center and Nazr Mohammed is backing him up it has allowed both Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison to move to their more natural position, power forward. Brooks said that has been one of the keys to improvement on both defense and offense.
“Those four guys really compliment each other well,” Brooks noted. “They each have a toughness about them, a defensive mentality about them and a high basketball IQ and they read each other very well and help each other a lot on the court. They’ve really played well together.”
The Thunder will begin this six game homestand riding a five game winning streak. Brooks loves being at home for an extended period because it will give his team added practice sessions coming down the stretch.
“It just gives you time to really pick your weaknesses out and work on em while you have the days off in between games.”
And Brooks told reporters he and his coaches won’t just be looking to solve problems that may have crept in but to also get even better in areas where the team is already excelling.
“We also want to go over the things that we do well and get better at those things.”
It’s easy for fans to look at the homestand and the opponents who will be coming in and chalk up six wins. Brooks and the team can’t look at it the same way.
“We don’t look at the big picture, that we have six games coming up at home, we just look at it that we have a game tonight. And then we’ll start thinking about the game Sunday night and then the next game after that. We have to focus on each opponent and make sure we give our best effort and all our concentration on that game.”
Tonight the Charlotte Bobcats make their only visit to Oklahoma City Arena, a team Nazr Mohammed used to play for and a team former Thunder forward D.J. White plays for now. White is averaging almost nine points and eight rebounds a game since going to Charlotte.
“It’s great to see,” said Brooks, “we all loved DJ when he was here, he’s a class kid, he just didn’t get a lot of opportunities because of Serge (Ibaka), Nick (Collison) and Jeff (Green) when he was here. So we had a lot of guys in front of him but he made our team better by practicing hard.”
The Bobcats have struggled lately, losing seven of their last nine games, but they remain right in the middle of the hunt for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.
“That’s why we have to bring it tonight,” Brooks said, “because they’re gonna play with a lot of urgency. They’re gonna want to play well and we can’t allow that to happen. It’s our building and we feel very confident going into this game but we have to respect them.”
Tip-off is set for 7PM inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can see all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.
• The Thunder is 8-1 in March and 11-2 on Friday nights. Oklahoma City is also 21-6 versus teams from the Eastern Conference and 10-2 at home versus the East.
• Oklahoma City beat Charlotte 99-81 back in December and the Thunder franchise is 5-1 all-time at home against the Bobcats.
• The Thunder’s 3-0 road trip produced some great defensive numbers. It marked the first time The Thunder held three straight opponents to less than 40% shooting since moving to Oklahoma City. It is also the first time the franchise won three straight games by double-digit margins and held those opponents to less than 40% shooting since the 1993-94 season.