OKC Thunder notebook: Thunder resting ... and waiting

Team has yet to have a full practice, although coaching staff is preparing for both Nuggets and Lakers.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: May 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm •  Published: May 7, 2012
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The Thunder has yet to practice since returning home to an enthusiastic gathering of 1,500 fans awaiting their arrival at Will Rogers World Airport late Saturday.

OKC had Sunday off after sweeping the defending world champion Dallas Mavericks 4-0 in the opening round, Monday was an optional day, during which players dropped by the practice facility for treatment or to do some shooting.

Players were not made available for interviews Monday, but coach Scott Brooks spoke to reporters at noon.

“It's nice just to kind of catch up on a few things,” Brooks said.

The Thunder plays the winner of the Los Angeles Lakers-Denver Nuggets series, which the Lakers lead 3-1 heading into Game 5 on Tuesday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“All morning we've been preparing to play either one,” Brooks said of his coaching staff. “The crazy thing is they're completely different teams, the way they play (and) their philosophies. Denver is as fast as any team in this league with their style of play. The Lakers, they can pound it inside with their two bigs (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) and then Kobe (Bryant) is always a factor.”

ON THE MEND

Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins is recovering from a right hip muscle strain he suffered in the first quarter of Game 4 and his availability remains unknown.

“It's always about the players, and we're going to make sure he's ready to play at the level he's capable of playing at,” Brooks said of Perkins' return. “The next couple of days are going to be good for everybody. Everybody on our team has a little bit of bumps and bruises and could use a couple extra days rest, but we're ready to get back into it (Tuesday) at practice. The last couple of days have been good for us.”

Brooks said he plans to alternate light practices (running and shooting) and hard practices (scrimmages).

“We have to keep our timing sharp and we do that by competing against each other five-on-five, three-on-three or even one-on-one,” Brooks said. “Sometimes it gets a little too competitive and that's when I have to step in and kind of tone it down a little bit because they don't like to lose against each other, whether it's one-on-one or even a free-throw shooting game.”