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OKC Thunder notebook: How did Thunder learn from last year's series with Mavericks?

The Dallas Mavericks ended the Thunder's season last year, winning the Western Conference Finals 4-1. How much did OKC study that series in preparing for this season and making sure it didn't happen again?
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: May 2, 2012
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The Dallas Mavericks ended the Thunder's season last year, winning the Western Conference Finals 4-1.

How much did OKC study that series in preparing for this season and making sure it didn't happen again?

"We looked at some of the things that were done, but we always look at how we play and how we can play better, no matter who we play," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Going into this season, we really wanted to be a lockdown defensive team, to be consistent at that end of the floor. And for the most part, all year long we've done that.

"Dallas is one of the best passing teams. I think they were the best-passing team last season. They make you play defense for 24 seconds. Even with this team they have now, they still do. They pass the ball well and that's the thing you have to do well against that team is play the entire shot clock because they make that extra pass down to the last second."

WINNING UGLY

Though the Thunder leads the series 2-0 heading into Game 3 at Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Dallas, OKC has yet to click on all cylinders, offensively or defensively.

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is aware of this, but not concerned by winning ugly.

"Hey, I don't really care what it looks like," Westbrook said. "In the playoffs, man, it doesn't matter. As long as we're up 2-zero, that's all that matters."

ROAD WARRIORS

The Thunder was 21-12 on the road during the regular season, which was second only to San Antonio (22-11) for the best road record in the Western Conference and was third best in the NBA (Chicago was 24-9).

"The last two (actually three) years we've been a good road team," Brooks said. "Our guys love playing on the road. It takes mental toughness, there's no question. You're not liked and we're not going to be liked wherever we go. Our guys, they bring energy wherever we play.

"It's always fun to be on the road. You're together as a group. You're on the bus together, in the hotel together, everything is right there. We always have each other's back and I kind of like the spirit of our team when we're on the road."

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