Thunder Not Over Confident Heading to Denver

Oklahoma City Thunder players and coaches will in fact use a charter jet to fly to Denver this afternoon, they’re not so high after going up 2-0 in their series with the Nuggets that a plane isn’t needed.

“We know going into their court it’d not going to be easy,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks, “We’ve watched the film and we’re finding ways we can improve, find ways that we can be better this next game. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Brooks and his team know most teams in their position go on to win playoff series. In league history 94% of teams up 2-0 go on to win and move on. They also know those statistics don’t mean anything. They can think back just to last season when the Thunder trailed the Lakers 0-2 then came home to Oklahoma City to win both games and come within a tip-in of taking that series all the way to seven games.

“If we come out sluggish or complacent, we could lose it if we come out with the wrong mindset,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant told reporters. “I don’t worry about that though, the coaches do a great job and we go out and play hard. I feel like if that all goes the same way then we have a chance to win.”

Backup center Nazr Mohammed won an NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs he fully understands winning the first two games of a playoff series doesn’t mean that series is over.

“We’re happy we protected home and did what we were supposed to do,” he said. “But like everyone says a series doesn’t really begin until you win on the other team’s home floor and we haven’t won on their home floor yet (in this series) all we’ve done is protect home so we’ve got to keep that same focus to go in there and win on their floor. It’s far from over.”

That same message is being preached by the head coach.

“We’ve got a lot of pride in our building and we did a good job but now Denver wants to do the same thing in their building,” said Brooks. “The same thing happened last year when we played the Lakers and lost our first two games. We didn’t come back thinking the series was over, we came back saying we’ve gotta take care of game three and then move on to the next game. That’s what playoff basketball is about.”

Thunder backup power forward Nick Collison told reporters there are three things you have to do to win on the road. Focus, focus and then focus some more.

“Just a lot of focus, the mindset of playing every single possession so that when things don’t go well you don’t let it affect the next possession. But it’s difficult,” Collison admitted. “They’ll have more energy in their building probably, it’s a tough place to play and it’s always tough to win on the road so we’ll have to be really sharp.”

The Thunder is flying out a day earlier than they normally would for a road game but it doesn’t really have anything to do with trying to adjust to Denver’s mile high atmosphere.

“We just felt that while we have the extra days between to go ahead and get to the next city,” Brooks said. “And just get settled so we can focus on what we have to do.”

Tip-off Saturday night inside the Pepsi Center is set for 9 p.m. You can watch all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma with Brian Davis, Grant Long and Kelly Crull. Or you can listen to Matt Pinto on the Thunder Radio Network.