Some NBA coaches like to break down their teams in five- or 10-game intervals, sampling a small segment of games to analyze the things being done well and the areas that need improvement.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks prefers the one-game-at-a-time approach.
"I keep it simple with our guys. Do we play hard and did we play for each other?” Brooks said. "I try to keep effort in and selfish out...If you play extremely hard, good things usually happen. You’re not guaranteed it. But if you don’t play hard you’re guaranteed nothing good is going to happen.”
Oklahoma City has given good effort throughout most of the first 10 games of this marathon NBA season, and as a result the Thunder is beginning to show its true colors. Sunday’s 101-93 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers dropped Oklahoma City to 5-5, a solid start considering the land mines that make up this month’s schedule. There have been good times and bad, highs and lows and ups and downs. Here’s what we’ve learned about the Thunder through the first 10-game set:
The defense has had a dramatic improvement
After giving up an average of 103.1 points last season, the Thunder has allowed 100 points or more just four times this season — and one of the opponent’s triple-digit games came in overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Thunder entered Sunday’s game allowing just 90.3 points and has yet to give up more than 105 points.
→OKC can contend with anyone
Already, the Thunder has stood toe-to-toe with both NBA Finalists from a year ago, a potent Portland team, a surprisingly stubborn Houston squad and notched road wins at Detroit and San Antonio.