Bouncing Back After Big Wins, Too
After tough losses, the Thunder always lives by its bounce-back mentality, letting go of the previous night and focusing solely on its next opponent. After emotional wins, the Thunder uses the exact same formula.
The Thunder won 113-112 in overtime over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Russell Westbrook after a scramble play, but on Saturday Head Coach Scott Brooks’ team got right back to work at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center. In the NBA, there’s no time in the 82-game schedule to feel sorry for yourself after a painful defeat and definitely no room to be distracted by a thrilling victory.
“It’s very important in this league to have consistency of just doing your job every day,” Brooks said. “There are a lot of games that become emotional. But you have to be able to bounce back. After a big win you have to still come back and keep everything as normal as possible.”
“You still wake up today and you have to focus on your next game,” Brooks continued. “That’s what we did today. We talked about it briefly then moved on to Minnesota.”
With a home tilt on Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who the Thunder fell to on the road in the second game of the year, the Thunder will be challenged once again. The key for the Thunder will be to execute its gameplan and stay true to its principles on both sides of the ball. Most important will be the job Brooks’ squad does defensively as a unit, but the Thunder also wants to use its stops on defense to get out into the open court to spark transition offense.
“I just try to get the ball up the floor as quick as I can,” Westbrook said. “That’s our advantage, our strength. We’re young, athletic and like to run the floor. It’s my job to be able to push the tempo and keep the tempo high.”
A major difference in this game from its early season clash is the presence of Westbrook, who was not yet in the lineup as he returned from a knee injury. The Thunder’s relentless defender and dynamic playmaker will be a factor on Sunday night, as will the home crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
In the sixth and final game of one of the Thunder’s two longest home stands of the season, Brooks’ squad will take pride in defending its home court. With a six-game win streak and an 8-0 home record on the line, the Thunder will be amped up and ready to play on Sunday night.
“We’re getting used to staying at home, so we have to take advantage of our last home game,” Westbrook said.
“We have a great environment,” Brooks explained. “We have a lot of pride and we’d love to closeout our home stand with a win.”