In the NBA, you don’t stew over loses and you don’t marinate wins.
Too bad, because it sure would have been nice if Thunder players could have soaked in Sunday night’s 102-74 domination over the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic for a little while longer.
Roughly 14½ hours later, it was back to the same old grind. There was a light-hearted shooting contest to close out Monday’s 11 a.m. practice session. At 3:30 p.m., the team boarded its charter flight for tonight’s game at Sacramento.
So it goes when you have 82 regular-season games in 169 days.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks wants his players to put a big loss behind them as quickly as possible, and the same also holds true after a big win.
The Thunder’s widest victory margin ever inside Ford Center resulted in some wide smiles from the sellout crowd of 18,203. Thunder players smiled, too, but not for long.
"Coach tells us after a win, we’ll enjoy it together afterward in the locker room. Once we leave that room, it’s over,” forward Kevin Durant said.
After the Orlando win, Brooks said something coaches rarely get the opportunity to say. "That is about as good as we could possibly play,” Brooks said.
At Monday’s practice, Brook reiterated as much and said: "That is
about as well as we can play. We did a great job of moving the ball.”
The Magic was shorthanded, playing without guard Vince Carter (ankle) and forward Rashard Lewis (10-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs). Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said none of that matters, however.
"They would have beat us if we had everybody,” Van Gundy said. "They play much harder than we do. They would have beat us here or in our place. We are just not as tough as they are right now.”
Brooks loved his team’s offense on Sunday and Van Gundy hated his team’s defense. That’s usually the way it works in blowouts.
"We are more predicated on shooting, we have no defensive toughness and right now we aren’t a very good team,” Van Gundy said.