Fast Break Points- May 31 Notebook
Resiliency is one word that has described the Thunder all season, and tonight against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ team will need to use that quality it has carried with it all season. Forward Kevin Durant knows his team performed well in bounce-back games during the regular season, and he thinks he and his teammates will respond to adversity tonight.
"We come out and we compete,” Durant said. “We're resilient and in bounce-back games, we've done well in responding. We're confident, we just have to continue to play hard, play smarter, and we'll be fine."
The Thunder also realizes that tonight’s game is the sole focus for this team and that it must play with urgency. Durant said that in team meetings, Brooks put the Thunder’s position in perspective, with the notion that the Playoffs are never guaranteed.
“We just have to take it a game at a time,” Durant said. “We can’t worry about trying to even up the series to go back to San Antonio. We just have to worry about one game and that’s tonight, and worry about every possession. We’re looking forward to having another opportunity to play. Like coach says, 26 other teams would like to be in the position these four teams are in right now, so we have to take advantage of it.”
Below are the Fast Break Points from Thursday's shootaround:
- Durant said that of course playing in front of the home crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Thunder feels it has a big advantage. The team doesn’t want to just rely on the crowd; it wants to come out from the tip and play good basketball.
- Durant said the Thunder has to play a little bit smarter on the defensive end, but is quick enough to stop the roll guy on the pick-and-roll and get out to shooters. Everybody could be better and the Thunder knows that, so the team is going to come out with a different mindset.
- Durant, on the possibility that he could play all 48 minutes, said that he could play two games in one day. He has faith in the coaching staff, and he and his teammates are willing to do anything because the team can play different ways, big and small.
- Durant on the opportunity in front of the Thunder: “It’s not guaranteed, first off, that we’re going to be in the Conference Finals, or the Playoffs for that matter, next season. So we have to play like every game is our last and every possession is our last. … If we come out with that energy and that sense of urgency, it gives ourselves a good chance.”
- Brooks said that he has considered using Thabo Sefolosha more against Tony Parker and having Royal Ivey against Parker. Brooks said he even thought about playing Durant or Russell Westbrook all 48 minutes, like the Boston Celtics did with Rajon Rondo on Wednesday night.
- Brooks was asked about being on the Houston Rockets team that came back from down 0-2 in the Playoffs, and joked that “Hakeem Olajuwon was pretty good,” while also razzing TNT analyst Kenny Smith, saying it was Sam Cassell, not Smith, that made the difference.
- Cole Aldrich and Serge Ibaka will be participating in Basketball Without Borders this summer, heading to South Africa from Aug. 30t to Sept. 2. Joining them will be former NBA great Dikembe Mutombo, Luc Mbaha a Moute from the Milwaukee Bucks and Luol Deng and CJ Watson from the Chicago Bulls. Basketball without Borders is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education and health and wellness.