Fast Break Points- June 16 Notebook

MIAMI -- A tight-knit unit like the Thunder is able to overcome a lot of adversity and difficult challenges, and so far this season, the team has done just that in terms of playing on the road. Posting a 21-12 record in the regular season and a 4-3 mark so far this postseason, the Thunder has found ways to tune out opposing crowds, road distractions and difficult circumstances in order to be successful.

“I think our guys have always been good on the road because they’ve been committed,” Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “We’ve always had toughness on the road and I expect to see that tomorrow night.”

That mental toughness stems from veteran leaders like Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher, but the attitude has been pervasive during the course of the Thunder’s four years in Oklahoma City. With young, dedicated guys like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook keeping everyone focused, the Thunder has been able to dig deep as a group to play some of its best basketball away from home.

“I think the best thing about being on the road is I think we have to come together as a group even more,” Durant said. “We do it a lot at home, but we have to come together even more… We have to come out and start off quick and play hard from the beginning.”

Below are the Fast Break Points from Saturday's practice:

-Brooks looks at the quality of shots and was vocal about the way his team operates. “We just want to do things better,” Brooks said. “I think that’s always been our battle cry. Every time we have a tough stretch to the season, get back to what we do and let’s just do it better. And I think that’s what we’re going to do in tomorrow night’s game.”

-Brooks said the Thunder got off to a bad start, missed some shots, missed some layups and pull up shots and defensively the team didn’t matchup in transition. There were a lot of things the team could have done better, and he hopes the team executes that and gets off to a better start.

-Brooks thinks that Russell Westbrook is an aggressive player and that the team needs him to score. The Thunder would not be in this position without Westbrook. He missed a few shots he normally makes. Without Westbrook in the second half, the Thunder doesn’t cut the lead to two with a chance to tie it at the end.

-Brooks joked about the coaching staff being allured by the nightlife in Miami when asked about the players being distracted. He said that he’s never had any issues with his players not being focused on the road. Teams don’t get to this point if they are distracted like that, and there are only ten days left in the season so there’s plenty of time to vacation.

-Brooks said that toughness is also important on the offensive end. The Thunder needs to set better screens, come off those screens harder and make sharper passes on time.

-Westbrook said he’s not going to change his style of play because of what outside people say. He’s going to go out and give his best and help the team win the game. He had to develop the ability to block out the noise, but it’s something that comes with the territory.

-Westbrook said that Derek Fisher is a great guy who knows a lot about the game. He will sometimes just sit, talk and pick Fisher’s brain on a few things.

-Durant said that the guys that come off the bench and guys like Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Serge do the things that help the team win. The team doesn’t try to rely on just himself, Westbrook and James Harden, it takes the whole group.


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