Thunder-Lakers: Thunder goes old school
Some 7-8 hours before tip-off at the Staples Center on Tuesday night, the Thunder practiced in a high school gym with missing ceiling tiles. And loved every minute of it.
The Thunder staged their game-day shootaround at Santa Monica High School’s old gym (Santa Monica has a newer gym, which the Thunder has used in the past), and when you walked in, you knew you were in a high school. Santa Monica High might sit only six blocks from the beach, but its gymnasium still smelled just like most high school gyms you’ve ever been in.
And the Thunder loved it.
“It kind of reminds you, everybody has great high school memories,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “This is a great atmosphere. It’s an old gym. The guys love it here.”
Part of that affection is that Santa Monica High is within walking distance of the Thunder’s ocean-side hotel.
The shootaround was a stark contrast from tonight, when the glitz and glamor of the NBA and the Lakers will be on full display. There was none of that Tuesday morning.
The Thunder shot on baskets attached to 2×4 boards on the wall. School bells periodically would ring. Students peered through door windows to catch a glimpse of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Brooks directed practice just like it was a high school team, with walk-throughs and instructions on certain plays. When Brooks freed his squad for just shooting, Thabo Sefolosha, Westbrook and Durant launched half-court shots.
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