The Thunder's season-long, six-game winning streak ended at the hands of Toronto on Sunday night. But Oklahoma City is 17-5 in games following a loss. That .773 winning percentage trails only San Antonio (12-1) in games immediately following a loss.
“The only thing I can think of is just the competitive spirit of our guys,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said when asked to explain how his team has responded to defeats. “They look at losses as a missed opportunity and they go into the next game with the mentality to make up for that loss. That's a great mindset to have.”
The attitude generally has started in practice the next day.
“We got a lot of competitors on our team and everybody wants to win. That's the main thing,” said reserve guard Eric Maynor. “We come in here and push each other and then go out there and take it out on somebody else.”
In Tuesday's practice, Maynor said, the Thunder focused on defending, sharing the ball and playing hard.
“We just want to get back to doing that because we didn't do it last game,” Maynor said.
“I think we came in here (Tuesday) and showed we're ready to get back out there and get back to work and get back in the win column.”
MAYNOR ENJOYING MARCH MADNESS
It's possible that no Thunder player is reveling in this year's men's NCAA Tournament like Maynor. Although Cole Aldrich, from Kansas, and Daequan Cook, from Ohio State, are both still rooting on their respective teams, they are both No. 1 seeds and have been expected to get this far.
Maynor's alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth, on the other hand has made a Cinderella-like run to the Sweet 16.
And Maynor doesn't think they're done yet.
“I'm predicting Elite 8. And we got to face Kansas,” Maynor said. “‘W' alert coming to Florida State. We'll beat Florida State. I already know that. And then Kansas is going to have to see us.”
What makes Maynor so confident, aside from school pride?
“Them boys are playing good right now and they're playing together and playing hard.”
A DIFFERENT TUNE IN UTAH
The Jazz come to town tonight having lost four of its last six and six of its past 10.
Point guard Devin Harris, who was a part of the mega-trade that sent Deron Williams to New Jersey, injured his right hamstring in Monday's 18-point loss at Memphis and is questionable tonight. Brooks, however, views the Jazz as another dangerous team that could potentially steal a win much like the Raptors did Sunday.
“They're still going to come at you with a lot of physical play,” Brooks said. “They're great screen setters. They're great passers. It's a different team with Deron Williams not being there…They've had some tough injuries this year…But it's a team that we have to go out there and match their physical play because they're going to bring effort and they're going to bring some toughness to the game.”
Thunder forward Kevin Durant on the loss to Toronto: “It felt like I (was) a senior in college and we lost in the (NCAA) Tournament. I could have done so much more to help us win.”