In the locker room, the film room and on the basketball court, the Thunder is ever-connected and always in communication.
Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks, guard James Harden and forward Nick Collison each addressed the media on Friday.
All three men discussed needing to play full team defense as the Thunder continues to work on its defensive rotations. Whether it's stopping penetration, closing out on shooters or rotating over in help-side defense, the entirety of the Thunder’s defense will be tested.
“You have to always have second or third efforts. That’s what this series, I think, will be about,” Collison said.
As it always does during the regular season and in the Playoffs, the Thunder kicked off its half week of preparation for the San Antonio Spurs with a heavy film session on Wednesday.
The Thunder arrived in Oklahoma City with two Top-4 NBA Draft picks in tow, both 20-year olds who were learning how to be professionals. Four years later, the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have both once again been named to All-NBA teams.
OKLAHOMA CITY, May 24, 2012 – Thunder forward Kevin Durant was named to the All-NBA First Team and guard Russell Westbrook was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the 2011-12 season, it was announced earlier today by the NBA.
Durant was named to the All-NBA First Team for a third consecutive season after becoming just the seventh player in NBA history to capture three consecutive scoring crowns. During the 2011-12 season, Durant led the Thunder with 18 doubles-doubles and on Feb. 19 vs. Denver, he recorded a career-best 51 points.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Thursday, May 24 - The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today the winners of the third annual Thunder Reading Challenge. The Thunder Reading Challenge, which began in November, is a competition that rewards elementary school students who read for the highest total of minutes. The top overall student, Kimberly Alvarez from Hawthorne Elementary, will be recognized Thursday, May 24 (today) with a surprise visit from Rumble the Bison.
For a 22-year old man who speaks Lingala, French, Catalan, Spanish and English, one word in Serge Ibaka’s repertoire translates between all five languages: defense.
The Thunder has a very healthy respect for its opponent, the San Antonio Spurs, who have had a high level of success over the past decade and a half. At the same time, however, players like Kevin Durant realize that his team can only control what it does in terms of offensive execution and defensive presence. During this week, the Thunder will continue to build its rapport with one another that has been growing since the team arrived four years ago.
Given nearly a week and a half between Round 1 and Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs, the Thunder had a choice to rest or practice. It chose the latter, with intense workouts throughout the week leading up to the series against the Los Angeles Lakers. With four full days before Game 1 on Sunday in San Antonio against the Spurs, the Thunder operated under the same principle.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Wednesday, May 23, 2012 – Thunder fans will continue to have a pregame opportunity to gather in Love’s Thunder Alley outside Chesapeake Energy Arena prior to the Thunder Western Conference Finals home games, but the event will conclude when the game begins. The Thunder will no longer show the game broadcast on the video board outside the arena.