Thunder Continues to Work Toward Opening Night

Time is running out. There are only two more practice days till Christmas and then the Thunder will unwrap the 2011-12 NBA regular season against the Orlando Magic.

“When you’re one of the team’s that gets picked to play on Christmas, I think you should take it as being an honor,” Thunder center Kendrick Perkins told reporters. “I think it shows that you’re one of the elite teams. So I think it’s an honor and I’ve always liked playing on Christmas Day.”

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks agrees with Perkins about the honor of playing on Christmas. “I think it’s great, not a lot of teams do it, not a lot of teams have the opportunity to do it.”

But Brooks and his coaches still have work to do with the players before they’re all ready to begin the season.

“A lot of times when you have a day off, the next day (at practice) is a little sloppy and it was a little sloppy,” Brooks said of Thursday's practice. "It got a little testy at times but it’s good for us. We have guys that understand our level of play has to be a certain way every day and if it’s not, we have guys that will let 'em know.”

Perkins thinks that shows the team is ready to go up against opponents wearing different uniforms and play in a game that really counts. "We had a tough practice today, guys were really getting at each other so I think we’re ready. We’re just going to continue to work, continue to grind and stay together.”

Brooks said defense, which has been good in two preseason games, was the focus of the practice, which lasted longer than most. “Transition, getting out to shooters and we focused on guarding the post," he said. "It’s some of the things you will see the first night, just getting our defensive schemes down and really having them become second nature and reacting quickly.”