Shoot-Around Report: Thunder Ready for Game 2

DALLAS -- Throughout the NBA Playoffs, players and coaches often use the word "adjustment," particularly after the first game.

It was used again this morning during shoot-around sessions as the Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks prepared for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Game time is 8 p.m. and will air live on ESPN and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder spent Tuesday pouring over film from Game 1, which the Mavericks won, 121-112. Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said three things stood out: the Thunder has to improve defensively; it must limit the number of fouls it commits,
especially on Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki; and it has to limit the energizing play of the Mavericks' bench, most notably guards Jason Terry and Jose Barea.

"They're a good team," Brooks said, "but I don't think they should score 121 points on us. We have to get better."

It was not just the point total that bothered Brooks. It was how the Mavericks reached that total. They scored 35, 35 and 31 points in the second, third and fourth quarters and made 34 of 36 free throws. Nowitzki scored 48 points and was 24-for-24 from the
free-throw line. And Barea and Terry combined for 45 points.

"Three 30-point quarters in one game is extremely high for us. I think we've given up maybe six in the entire playoffs prior to that. That's not good," he said.

"We have to play better (defense) on Dirk and we can't foul him. He took 24 free throws -- the guy averaged six for the year. We have to guard him without fouling him. Fouling is a mistake and we made a lot of mistakes in Game 1. Adjustments will come. We have to start the game better and defend him without fouling. We'll see what type of game he's got going and then we'll do some things."

Brooks said part of the Thunder's foul troubles in Game 1 were the result in the stark difference in play between the Mavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies, an extremely physical team the Thunder defeated in seven games to reach the Western Conference Finals.

"There's no question. With Memphis, it was like playing a football team. We were both getting in there and leaving everything. Bodies were on the court, banging against other bodies. It's an adjustment we have to make," he said. "Our best defense is us being aggressive and making them feel uncomfortable. ... Our goal is to make everybody on their team feel uncomfortable and we didn't do that last game.

"We had a great film session yesterday. We picked apart what we need to do better and the things we did well. Practice was good. Today's shoot-around was good. The guys always come back with great energy and the concentration level was very high. We know we have a big challenge ahead. Dallas is extremely good and they're playing great basketball right now, but our guys are embracing the challenge and we feel we can come in and win
this game tonight."