Expecting Tough Test, Thunder Focusing on Everything

After a day off Thursday that actually included a lot of work for everyone, the Thunder took to the practice floor again on Friday.

Having played Denver four times this season and winning three, two of those wins coming just last week, Oklahoma City is already pretty familiar with the Nuggets and vice-versa. By the time Sunday night’s opening playoff game rolls around, they will be intimately familiar.

“We’re looking at everything they do and have done this season,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said Friday, “but more than anything they do, we’re really focusing in on what we can do better. If we play our game, worry about what is just about us, we should be fine.”

“It’s going to be intense,” admitted Thunder forward Kevin Durant, “but I can’t wait. We just have to keep working hard; we've got to keep getting better.”

This best-of-seven series could very well be won or lost by which team does the little things better or responds to the not-so-obvious qualities of each team. The basics are known well.

“We understand that they’re a very good basketball team,” Brooks said. “They have a lot of skilled players. They have a physical player down low (Nene) and two good point guards (Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton), both of them are starters in this league and (Nuggets Coach) George (Karl) is able to manage both of them and play them. They have some scorers and 3-point threats as a team. They shoot very well. They score points in the paint.”

Though Denver led the NBA in scoring during the regular season and loves to score in transition, the Nuggets can also be a very physical team.

“No question, it’s the playoffs, it’s what you expect,” said Thunder shooting guard Daequan Cook. “It’s going to be that physical, very brutal type of game.”

Both teams should be ready for the other’s best shot.

“It’s going to be a very intense, physical, tough-minded basketball series," Brooks said. "That’s what tough playoff basketball is about. We know going in there are no easy series.”

Cook may have summed it up best.

“A lot of guys don’t want to go home,” he said, “so we’ll take it one game at a time.”

We still have a couple of days to wait. The Thunder and Nuggets will play the last playoff game of the first round. Tip-off is set for 8:30 Sunday night inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can see it on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.