Fast Break Points- May 14 Notebook
When Sefolosha spoke with Crull, he said that he was excited to play because the team had been practicing hard all week, and that the Thunder is excited and will be ready to go tonight despite a full week without a game. Much of the conversation revolved around the Lakers, who boast a strong front line and a tough defensive assignment for Sefolosha in Kobe Bryant. Sefolosha said that both players’ competitiveness shines through when the two play against one another, and that he will try to take away as much as possible from Bryant. Over the years, Sefolosha has picked up on some of Bryant’s tendencies, but every game is a new one that provides a different challenge.
Below are the Fast Break Points from Monday’s shoot-around as the Thunder prepares for Game 1 in its Round 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Playoffs.
- Westbrook said the Thunder went over a few plays, watched film and tried to get ready for tonight today during shoot-around. Westbrook noted that defending home court will be a part of it tonight, but more than anything, the Thunder has to simply execute the game plan.
- Westbrook talked about the challenge the Lakers present, saying that they’re a good team, they have a lot of experience and they know what it takes to win in the playoffs. Specifically, Westbrook explained that the Lakers are a great rebounding team, particularly on the offensive end. He said that he must get some rebounds and help the Thunder get out in transition.
- Both Westbrook and Brooks said that the week without a game doesn’t matter. If the offense comes out rusty, the Thunder must simply make more stops, according to Westbrook. Brooks said that once the tip is up, there are no excuses. “If we play well tonight it’s because we played well, not because the team had eight days off and if we play bad it’s not because we had eight days off,” Brooks said.
- Brooks echoed Westbrook’s statement about the Lakers’ rebounding prowess and what that means for the Thunder. “They’re one of the best rebounding teams in basketball,” Brooks said. “Offensively they crash the boards every time. We have to make sure we do a good job of that. We had a great week, we focused on those areas and we’re excited about playing tonight.”
- Sefolosha discussed his defensive assignment against Bryant, and Brooks expanded on the threat that the Lakers guard can be late in games. “They have Kobe who can a bad shooting night and have 15 in the fourth quarter and make four great threes like he did against us, like he did against Denver, like he’s done against every team in this league many times,” Brooks said. It will be important for the Thunder to lock in and focus defensively for an entire 48 minutes to prevent Bryant from getting into a rhythm.