Shoot-around Report: No Big Changes for Thunder

Going into Game 5 tonight between the Thunder and the Denver Nuggets, players and coaches say no major adjustments need to be made from Oklahoma City’s standpoint. Just work a little harder and do a better job of doing what has to be done.

“We need to do a better job in transition against them and covering up their shooters,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “Those are things we had done well in the first three games of the series and we need to get back to that. So we just have to play better.”

Thunder backup power forward Nick Collison got a bit more specific.

“We need to do a much better job with (Ty) Lawson,” Collison pointed out. “We did a good job the first three games of keeping him out of the lane for the most part, but (Monday) he was coming off pick-and-rolls with a big head of steam, so we need to do a better job there. We also need to tighten things up on our transition defense, that’s been the key to the whole series so far. I think if we’re a little better on offense that will cut down on some of their run-outs in transition.

“It’s all things we know we have to do,” Collison went on to say, “for some reason, we just didn’t do them in Game 4.”

Being back in front of the Thunder fans should help with some of that.

“We’re really looking forward to playing in front of our fans,” Brooks said Tuesday. “They give us extra energy. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

Will the home crowd really help? Collison told reporters there’s no doubt about it.

“Yeah, for sure. I think history shows more teams have success at home,” he said, “Our crowd is a big part of that. It’s just human nature. They can really fire you up when you’re the home team. I actually think it affects the home team more. I don’t really think professionals at this level get shook on the road, but the home team does get a boost, so I think that helps.”

Denver will undoubtedly try to continue to capitalize on what it did right Monday and continue to do those things. Collison said he believes the best way for the Thunder to counter-act that is to “focus on our play and focus on being better. It’s difficult to beat a good team like that, but we have had success and we just need to get back to doing the things that brought us success in the first three games.”

“It’s always about execution with our guys,” echoed Brooks. “When we execute with great effort it usually works out pretty good for us. We have to do a better job of that and I think we’re ready for the challenge tonight; we’re ready to play much better basketball tonight.”

Tip-off for Game 5 of the Thunder-Nuggets series is set for 8:30 p.m. inside the Oklahoma City Arena. You can watch all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.

NEWS AND NOTES

  • Denver's two leading scorers in this series, Lawson and Nene, are averaging a combined 32.1 points per game in the series; the Thunder's two leading scorers, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, are averaging 56.6 points per game.

  • The Nuggets' offense led the NBA during the regular season, but the Thunder defense has kept Denver well below its season averages in several categories during this series. Here are the numbers for the season and (for the series). Scoring -- 107.5 ppg (97.5 ppg); shooting percentage -- 47.6 (41.4), 3-point percentage -- 38.8 (36.0); free throw percentage -- 76.5 (69.2).

  • The Nuggets were 18-5 against teams from some place other than Oklahoma City in the NBA after the trade deadline, but they are just 1-5 against the Thunder in that same time frame.