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OKC Thunder: Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb hit the wall

Changing roles for Thunder’s young players mean they’re playing more minutes than they’re used to, leading to fatigue in the dog days of February.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 27, 2014

Their ineffectiveness is now saddling a second unit that, despite key losses in each of the last two offseasons, was establishing itself as one of the best in the business. For that group to regain what it had, the Thunder is counting on Jackson and Lamb.

“Offensively, they’ve struggled a little bit. But it’s nothing that I’m concerned with at this moment,” Brooks said of Jackson and Lamb. “They just have to continue to fight through it. Continue to do the same routine they’ve always done. I think when players get in trouble is when they change things up every other rough patch. If you do the same thing every day, and it’s the right thing, you’re going to have consistent results.”

Lamb has to go back three years, to his freshman season at Connecticut, to find anything that remotely compares to what he’s experiencing now. It was the then-Big East Tournament, which his Huskies improbably ran through by racking up five wins in five days before advancing to the NCAA Tournament and capping their storybook season with a national championship.

Much like then, Lamb says this bout with fatigue is more mental than physical.

“Everybody told us we were going to be tired. But we wanted to win,” Lamb remembered. “We didn’t really feel tired because we were focused on winning. We were focused on playing hard. So now, I think it’s your mind. If you come out and say ‘I’m tired today,’ then you’re going to be tired. But if you come out and say ‘Let’s get better today. Let’s get some work in,’ you’re going to break a sweat, you’re going to have a good time and your body’s going to feel a whole lot better.”

Lamb said he’s now doing little things like soaking himself in a cold tub and wrapping his limbs with ice to preserve his body.

Veterans on the Thunder also have been integral in walking younger teammates through exactly how to overcome fatigue. Kevin Durant has been among the biggest aides in that area, through his words and his actions.

“These minutes early in the season, when I kind of felt fatigued, he just told me to remind myself the mind is a powerful tool,” Jackson told “So just kind of tell yourself that you can battle through anything, you can get through anything, whether it be physical fatigue, mental fatigue, things off the court or on the court. Just believe in yourself and continue to play and things will kind of turn out in your favor and go well for you.”