OKC Thunder: Thunder one day closer to getting back to business

Oklahoma City players are looking forward to Wednesday night's opener at Utah.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 28, 2013


photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Reggie Jackson, right, turns the corner on Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler in the second quarter during their preseason NBA basketball game in Wichita, Kan., Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Fernando Salazar) LOCAL TV OUT; MAGAZINES OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT
Oklahoma City Thunder's Reggie Jackson, right, turns the corner on Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler in the second quarter during their preseason NBA basketball game in Wichita, Kan., Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Fernando Salazar) LOCAL TV OUT; MAGAZINES OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT

One more day.

The Oklahoma City, after an unexpectedly brutal 5 1/2-month offseason, finally gets back to business in just one more day.

The season opener is Wednesday at Utah — how that happens remains a mystery — and by the time the Thunder takes the court it will have had six days to prepare for not just Game 1, but also the start of what is sure to be a grueling 82-game season.

“We've put in a lot of work, and we're all just excited to start,” said Kevin Durant. “We're looking forward to our first game and trying to start this thing off right.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he put his team through one final tough practice Monday, with the hope that it would reinforce the team's core tenets.

“We wanted to really continue to put our identity in place and that is to play physical, tough-minded basketball,” Brooks said.

The session included drills, a lot of drills, Brooks said, that demanded aggressive play on both ends of the floor.

“And our guys responded,” he said.

Tuesday's final session will be a lighter practice, Brooks said. But emphasizing the team's identity, even if it's well-established, was something Brooks considers critical.

“I think it's something that you can never take for granted,” Brooks said. “You always have to throw it on the floor. We take pride in how we play. We've had a good identity the last five years. But I think our guys have to understand that we can never relax. That's how we have to play. We have to play a tough-minded basketball game.”

And play hard. And not take nights off.

Those are the things that, if done well, could keep the Thunder afloat while point guard Russell Westbrook recovers from knee surgery.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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