Thunder Wraps Up Day of Work, Heads to Dallas

After nine days of Training Camp 2011, Thunder players finally get the chance to play against somebody not wearing a jersey that says "Oklahoma City Thunder."

Following practice Saturday, the Thunder left the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center and headed to Dallas for the first of two preseason games against the Mavericks. The two teams, who met last May in the Western Conference Finals, will play Sunday (6:30 p.m., WWLS The Sports Animal) in Dallas and meet up again Tuesday (7 p.m., FS Oklahoma and WWLS) in the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

"The guys are excited. They've been fighting each other for a week or so and have waited a long time," Thunder Head Coach Scott Brings said. "They're ready to play, ready to get after another team. They've given us great effort and they've challenged each other every day, but it's nice to go out and play an exhibition game. We're looking forward to seeing what we have in so far and what we need to put in before the first game (Christmas night).

"We just want to see guys execute the things that we've worked on the past week and continue to build on playing together and creating those good habits of passing the ball and defending for each other."

Brooks said liked what he saw in those two areas Friday night during the team's annual Blue & White Scrimmage at Putnam City West High School. He is looking for that continue in Dallas.

One thing fans should not expect is for any player to play a significant amount of minutes Sunday night. While he has praised the conditioning level of his players, Brooks also pointed out the difference between being in shape and being "in NBA shape."

"Our guys practice extremely hard, but there's another level of intensity during a game," Brooks said. "They have to be able to get to that during the time they're in the game. There's 'in shape' and there's 'NBA in shape' and you need games for that. The two games we have are going to help because the intensity level goes up when you're competing against a guy you don't see every day. That's how we establish our toughness. It's our team against their team. It's the mentality of going hard against your opponent, no matter what type of game it is.

"It's just who you are, how you're wired and our guys are wired that way. They're going to compete against Dallas like they've done the last three or four years."