A condensed season also has the Thunder organization busy off the court.
On Tuesday, six players made community appearances, as did Rumble, the Thunder Girls and multiple staff members.
OKC coach Scott Brooks acknowledged the frantic schedule. “That's never a concern,” Brooks said. “We expect and demand a lot from our guys on the court and off the court. We believe that's our responsibility.”
In addition to having a community appearance, All-Star forward Kevin Durant had to shoot scenes for his upcoming movie “Thunderstruck,” which began filming last summer.
“He knows how to get his rest and what his body and mind needs to rest,” Brooks said of Durant. “I'm confident that always will be the case with Kevin. When you're a good player, people want to see you and want to be a part of your life, but Kevin's fine.”
Durant said he would have preferred to rest rather than shoot the movie Tuesday, but he kept his commitment.
“During the season, I really don't like to do too much but just focus on basketball, but it comes with the territory,” Durant said. “They've got to get some more stuff (filmed). To be honest, I really don't want to do it. I want to rest today, but I have to. It's only three or four hours out of my day. Hopefully, I'll get through it.”
Hey, that's Hollywood.
“Yeah,” Durant said, “but this is Oklahoma City.”
NO SECOND CHANCES
OKC's biggest problem so far this season has been supplying hope to outmanned opponents (see 105-102 loss at Washington last week) by allowing them to stay in the game longer than they should.
The crux of the problem has been too many offensive rebounds and second-chance points.
The Thunder ranks 24th in percentage of total points off second chances at 14.6 percent and is 23rd in second-chance points allowed per game at 13.7.
OKC ranks last in opponent offensive rebounds allowed per game at 13.4 and is 28th in offensive rebounding at just 9.5 per game.
“Defensively, I thought we've been good, other than we have to finish up possessions with a rebound,” Brooks said.
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has played steady defense much of the season, but he has struggled offensively.
Last season, he averaged 9.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and shot 54.3 percent from the field. This season, he is averaging 6.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and is shooting 48.5 percent.
In Monday night's 99-79 home victory over Detroit, Ibaka might have been more active than he has been all season, which was by design.
Eight hours before tipoff, Brooks mentioned Ibaka needed to be given more opportunities to contribute offensively. Ibaka had the chances and took 10 shots but made only three. He did tie a season high with 10 rebounds and had five blocks for the second straight game.
“He's been really good defensively – rebounding, blocking shots, protecting the paint,” Brooks said of the 22-year-old from the Republic of Congo. “I felt it was my job to get him more involved offensively, and he had good looks. He missed probably four (shots) that were just unlucky. … I have to do a better job of helping facilitate that.”
Reserve forward Nick Collison left in the second quarter against Detroit with a sprained left ankle and did not return, nor did he practice on Tuesday morning.
Brooks said Collision is listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated Wednesday morning for the New Orleans game that night.
Following Wednesday night's game against the Hornets, the Thunder plays eight of its next nine games on the road, with the lone home game being Feb. 3 against Memphis.
OKC is at Golden State on Friday, at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, at Dallas next Wednesday, home for Memphis, at San Antonio Feb. 4, has back-to-back games at Portland and Golden State on Feb. 6-7 and back-to-back games at Sacramento and Utah on Feb. 9-10.
After the road trip, the Thunder will play six of the next seven games at home, which is followed by All-Star Weekend.
Brooks, on if he's qualified to make a cameo appearance in Durant's movie – “I've been acting for four seasons as a head coach.”