In the final minute of the Thunder’s 116-113 win over Sacramento on Feb. 8, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks demanded one last defensive stop from his team.
But rather than directing the young Thunder players during a late timeout, he demonstrated. Brooks walked over to Kevin Durant, stuck both hands under the lanky forward’s armpits and forcefully raised both his arms as to drive home his point. Play straight up. Use your length. Don’t foul. It’s those principles that Durant and Co. will get an ear full of as the team returns from All-Star Weekend today and resumes practice with a rare late session tonight. Brooks said the team’s No. 1 goal coming out of the break is continued improvement on the defensive end of the floor. "I’d like to see our defense show more consistency,” Brooks said. "We’ve had times where our defense is really, really good. And there are times where our defense needs some work and you’d think that we haven’t worked on it. It’s important in these last 29 games to be committed with our consistency.” The Thunder entered the All-Star break allowing an average of 103.3 points, the sixth most in the league. Twelve teams allow 100 points or more, but the Thunder averages only 97.4 points, making it the fifth worst team in scoring differential at minus-5.83.
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OUT WITH THE OLD...IN WITH THE NEW
A look at the winning percentages of this year’s coaches who took over in midseason.
|The Sixers were just 9-14 under Maurice Cheeks.|
|Memphis was on a nine-game skid when Hollins took over, but the Grizzlies have won four of their last six.|
|His 10-4 mark in January seems a distant memory now that they’ve lost five of six and Al Jefferson for the season.|
|Firing Sam Mitchell looked foolish when he got of to a 2-10 start but 11-15 since is not bad.|
|Scott Brooks||OKC||12-28||0.30 %|
|Even during a 2-17 start he brought some competitiveness to the Thunder.|
|At this pace, the Wizards could have kept Eddie Jordan.|
|Proof that it’s not always the coach’s fault.|