Fast Break Points- May 16 Notebook

There will be no over-confidence, resting or complacency for the Thunder heading into Game 2 tonight. Head Coach Scott Brooks, forward Nick Collison and guard Russell Westbrook each noted that the Los Angeles Lakers will certainly bring a tougher test than in the Thunder’s 119-90 victory in Game 1.

Collison said the Lakers will likely play better by being more active and more aggressive, so it is essential that the Thunder keeps the Lakers out of the paint and away from the offensive glass. Similarly, Westbrook said he expects the Lakers to play him much more physically and attempt to slow him down from being in attack mode. In order to combat that, Westbrook said he needs to just play at his pace and for the offense to be solid in terms of protecting and sharing the ball.

“They’re going to play better, you just know that,” Brooks said of the Lakers. “They have a lot of pride, a lot of great players on that team, championship-level players. They’re going to play better. They had a bad game and we played probably as well as we can play.”

Below are the Fast Break Points from Wednesday's shootaround as the Thunder prepares for Game 2:

- Collison said the team’s focus has been better in the Playoffs, which is part of the reason for its success with limiting turnovers. The Thunder is learning how to play with each other, and spacing on offense is really important. When the Thunder has guys in the right spots, there’s more space on the floor and those decisions are easier to make whether it’s pass, dribble or shoot, according to Collison.

- Collison also talked about how the Thunder’s perimeter defense can make the rest of the defense’s job very easy. The way the perimeter guys stick to their men allows the post players to stay closer to their men in order to box out and prevent offensive boards.

- Collison on realizing the Lakers are going to play better in Game 2: “That’s the good thing about having a little bit of experience because we realize that. We realize each game is a different thing. Each one only counts for one point and you have to get four to move on. I think we’ve done a good job. We will do a good job of not getting too high or too low. We know how good the Lakers are.”

- Kendrick Perkins is listed as a game-time decision, so if he cannot play or is limited in terms of minutes, the big men rotation may change for the Thunder. Collison said that those decisions will be up to Coach Brooks. “We’ve done some different things, we’ve played small at times,” Collison said. “Cole (Aldrich) is capable of playing well, he’s one of those guys that hasn’t gotten a shot too much this year, but he’s capable of playing. Nazr (Mohammed) did a great job in Game 1. Coach will figure it out, but we’re confident that we have guys that can play.”

- Coach Brooks said the Thunder will not be overconfident heading into tonight’s game. The Thunder has always had a one-game-at-a-time approach. Despite the fact that it sounds boring, it’s the only way you can have success in this league and not get ahead of yourself, he said.

- James Harden was the subject of conversation, and Coach Brooks said that Harden is a very good player who would probably start for other teams, but in order to have a good team, guys sacrifice. Guys in the starting lineup could score more, like Thabo Sefolosha, but he sacrifices his offensive game to be a lock down defender. Similarly, Harden is a team guy and he understands that in order to be on a good team, everyone has to fill a role.


/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>