Shoot-around Report: Gearing Up for Pistons
The Thunder worked on defending the Detroit Pistons during this morning’s shoot-around and right now, that’s a bit of a mystery because the Pistons have tried several different looks and line-ups lately.
“They do use a lot of guys and they have a lot of good players,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks admitted. “They have a team full of capable scorers, “Rip” Hamilton, Tracy McGrady, (Rodney) Stuckey, so we have to get after them early. We don’t want to go into the game thinking it’s going to be easy, there’s no such thing in this league.”
The Pistons took the Thunder to the limit back on Oct. 29, the second game of the season, before losing to OKC, 105-104. Since then it has been mostly downhill for Detroit. The Pistons are 23-42 and have lost nine consecutive games to Western Conference opponents.
“You have to go into the game respecting your opponent,” Brooks said, “and they have some players who can really score the ball.”
Detroit’s defense has been the team’s biggest problem this season. The Pistons are allowing teams to shoot 48.3 percent, the worst field-goal percentage defense in the NBA. Wednesday night in San Antonio, the Pistons had their worst defensive performance of the season when the Spurs hit 64.3 percent, including their first 14 shots of the game. That being said, the Thunder will focus on what it does best, not what Detroit does worst.
“In this league you can get beat by any team if you’re not on your game,” Brooks said. “We don’t have a team where we’re good enough to just cruise and still win. We have to play well, we have to play together, play with a lot of energy and teamwork to win.”
- Thunder center Kendrick Perkins participated fully in this morning’s shoot-around, but Brooks said Perkins will not see any playing time tonight.
“He’s progressing, we’ve got him on the court now, he practiced yesterday, went through shoot-around today and he’s getting better," Brooks said. "We’re getting him integrated with our guys and things are moving in the direction that we want."
Perkins is fine physically, but it takes a while to get used to being on the court with new teammates and running a different system than what he was used to in Boston.
“He has to learn all of our plays. He’s not going to learn them all in a few days, but he’s picked up a lot,” Brooks said. “His basketball IQ is very high, he’s played at a championship level and he understands what we do. He just has to get on the court and do it.”
- The Thunder is 17-6 versus teams from the Eastern Conference, Detroit is just 8-20 versus teams from the West and 2-11 on the road against the West.
- The Thunder has won four consecutive games against the Pistons.
- The Thunder is 10-2 in Friday night games.