OKC Thunder: Long layoff is good for Kendrick Perkins' recovery, but does it benefit the rest of the Thunder?

OKC veteran Derek Fisher, who has been through several playoff scenarios, says intensity remains in practice. “But there's nothing like a game,” Fisher said.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: May 11, 2012

“It's always in the back of your mind,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said, “but you can't worry about that.”

Is too much rest a bad thing?

“It's been great for all of us,” Brooks said of this week's idle schedule. “We've had very good practices – very sharp, very crisp. I think the days off are helping us going into the next series. I don't see anything bad about it. We just had days off. We just have to focus in and who we play Monday. We'll be worried about that team as soon as we know.”

The Thunder's younger players, like 23-year-old Russell Westbrook, have never had this many days off between games, including during All-Star break.

“I don't really know if it helps us or hurt us, but hopefully it's for the good,” Westbrook said.

Fisher has played in 213 career playoff games, won five world championships and endured perhaps every imaginable postseason scheduling demand.

“Sometimes it gets tough with this many days without a competitive game,” Fisher explained. “You can start to lose that edge, that drive that you develop when you're playing games. We've had what I guess would be considered training camp-type practices. The attention has been up, the energy has been good. I think we've done the best job we can do, considering we haven't had a game, but there's nothing like a game.”

Brooks said he has added a few wrinkles in an effort to keep practice sessions fresh.

Asked if he has offered any suggestions, Fisher smiled and said: “What's fun about this team is there's still a certain intensity and competitiveness between the guys that exists that's really fun. Being on veteran teams the last couple years, practice wasn't always the most energetic.

“Being on a young team that plays with a lot of passion and as close as these guys are, they don't really necessarily like each other during practice. It gets pretty tense out there. That part has been good and that's what you need to keep everybody at a certain level. We're tired of kind of beating up on each other.”

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