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OKC Thunder: Rather than rest up for the playoffs, Thunder is battling playoff-bound teams

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 10, 2013

“Anytime you're playing against good teams in April it's always going to get you ready for the playoffs,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “It doesn't guarantee you're going to have success but it keeps your mind focused on doing well because if you don't play with high intensity against some of the best teams you're not going to have success. And we take pride in playing well against every team. And we know in this home stretch of games we're going to have to play well to make every game competitive.”

So far, the Thunder has been more than competitive.

Oklahoma City has gone 3-1 in the first four games of this month and, despite the difficulty of the schedule, has made things look rather easy. In those three wins — against the Spurs, Pacers and Jazz — the Thunder limited its opponents to an average of 81 points on 38.9 percent shooting. OKC out-rebounded those teams 146-118, which included a 34-26 advantage on the offensive end.

“I think we did a really good job,” said Kevin Durant. “The game against New York was tough. Those guys are hot, really hot, right now and we made it a game. But throughout the last four games I think we played very, very well and we got to continue to build on that.”

Oklahoma City lost its last game at Golden State, and with the way the Warriors are playing, coupled with what they have to play for, the Thunder can do only one thing to prepare for Thursday's game.

Buckle up.

“These are high energized, intensity-driven games,” Brooks said. “And going forward it's going to be the same thing.”