The words “Thunder” and “sound bite” are sort of like “oil” and “water.”
They don’t mix.
But throughout this postsesaon run, I’ll try to catch the best gems and drop them here as the Thunder and others break down matchups, strategies and emotions.
Here is the best of the best from today’s first day of preparation for the first round of the playoffs.
Nick Collison on the series: “We know they like to get up and down and score in transition. I think the more times we can make them play against a set defense the better off we’ll be.”
Collison on playing Rockets guard James Harden: “I think everybody’s over it now. He’s their best scorer. He’s a big part of what they do. He’s going to probably play against the Thunder 40 more times in his career so eventually everyone’s going to have to get over it. I think for us, we all know him, but we’re trying to guard him and we’re trying to beat him.”
Kevin Martin on the series: “We have championship aspirations and Houston’s trying to spoil that for us.”
Martin on being back in the playoffs: “I was excited. I called my trainer on the way here and couldn’t wait to get to work. Usually I’d be heading to the airport around 4 a.m. this morning. Can’t wait to get back to Ohio. So a lot changed.”
Martin on the irony of playing Harden: “We knew this was going to be the series back in October. How else would it pan out?”
Martin on the difference between being a sixth man and primary option: “No pressure at all. I’m not a guy…I don’t mess with pressure. It’s just a different role. What I learned being a sixth man or a third option role is your bad games are really bad games. As the first option, you can go 5-for-25 and still have 20.”
Scott Brooks on the start of the playoffs: “It’s a great opportunity. Fifteen other teams are excited about this time of the year. Anytime you can play this time of year you have a chance. That’s what we want. We want to have a chance like the other 15 teams to win a championship.”
Brooks on playing Harden: “James is a really good player. He had three really good (years) and developed into a really good players with us. But it seems like it was so long ago when the trade happened. We have moved on.”
Brooks on defending Harden: “Our guys aren’t thinking that we have to stop James, and I’m not working on a game plan only to stop James. They are a very good offensive team and we have to stop the Rockets. We’re going to have to beat the Rockets. And if James is stopped that’s obviously good because we want to take away their strengths and he’s a big part of their team. But he’s not the only piece of their team. We’re focusing on beating them.”
Brooks on Rockets center Omer Asik: “I think he definitely has to be considered as the top three in the league at Most Improved…He rebounds as well as anybody in the league; offensive rebounds. He rolls as hard as anybody. And I think the most impressive thing that I’ve seen this year in his improvement is when he rolls he can catch and make passes out to the 3-point line. That’s one of the hard things for all bigs to do…But that’s an area that he’s really good at that we have to be able to be on point with our defensive principles with that because he can kick out to guys as well as any big in the league.”