Fast Break Points- June 14 Notebook

Laser-sharp focus has been a consistent quality of this Thunder team from the beginning of the Playoffs, and on Thursday morning at shootaround, that attitude was again pervasive. Whether it was Derek Fisher shooting corner three-pointers an hour after shootaround ended or the focus with which Kevin Durant discussed the team’s mindset, it was clear the Thunder are locked in for Game 2 of its NBA Finals series against the Miami Heat.

“You can’t get too high off of one win,” Durant said. “We had to come back to work and we knew that. We knew it was going to be tougher tonight. No game is the same I don’t think. It’s my first time here in the Finals so I know Game 2 is going to be tougher and guys are going to play stronger and harder. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

Led by young core members like Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka, the Thunder have a nice balance of youth and experience. This is that quartet’s eighth Playoff series in the past three seasons, but understanding of Playoff basketball is enhanced by the veteran know-how of players like Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher. As a result, Fisher explained the team’s thought process heading into round two of this Finals showdown.

“We feel that we can play better,” Fisher said. “You have to assume and know, that because of the talent they (the Heat) have, they’re going to play better, so we’re looking forward to a great game.”

Below are the Fast Break Points from Thursday's shootaround:

-Fisher on Head Coach Scott Brooks’ message to the team today: “I think it’s just continuing to understand that complacency has no room to exist here. We can’t walk into the arena tonight feeling as though we’ve accomplished something already by winning a game that seems an eternity ago already. Today and tonight is brand new, it will write its own story. We’ll have a lot to do with it, but we can’t rely on the past and we can’t concern ourselves with what is to come. That’s been the message, really, for the last two days.

-Durant said that Serge Ibaka’s game is growing and he’s starting to see things more and things are slowing down. The Thunder needs him to be aggressive. The whole team needs to go out and have fun and play off their instincts. Kendrick Perkins said that Ibaka has the will to want to improve in terms of his passing.

-When asked what the Thunder have focused on over the past two days in preparation for Game 2, Durant said, “Playing harder and playing together on both ends.”

-Durant said that the team just has to take it a day at a time and see what happens. We have to take advantage of these opportunities because they aren’t guaranteed. The Thunder has to come out and be themselves.

-Perkins said that Thabo Sefolosha plays his role well because he likes playing defense and locking up. He takes the best guy on the opposing team every night and the Thunder has appreciated Sefolosha all season long. Perkins eyes were opened to the way Sefolosha does all the little things when he came to the team last spring.

-Brooks said that he hopes his team comes out with a stronger start at the beginning of the game, and aggressive from the start. He said that shootaround was good, it wasn’t long but there was good focus. His team has to play a defensive game and has to get back in transition.

-Brooks on what he means by wanting his team to “play with force”: “We have to get to the basket. We like to play going downhill. We like to go South. We don’t like to go East-West with the dribble or the pass. I think when we do that we’re aggressive, we can get to the paint, we can score easy around the bucket, we can get to the free throw line and it opens up our shooters.”

-Brooks said that his mother, who doesn’t normally travel anywhere, loved the win and the atmosphere at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday night. Brooks always jokes about his mom being a tough critic, but he was happy that she has now traveled to see him play in an NBA Finals and coach in one too.


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