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Oklahoma City Thunder: Home-court advantage on the line

OKC's Nick Collison says matchup Monday at San Antonio is “big. I think you always want to be in the best seat possible going in (to the playoffs).”
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 10, 2013

“If you want to win a championship … you're going to have to win on the road,” Brooks said. “It always works that way.”

The Thunder, though, is 4-1 all-time when it owns home-court advantage and 1-2 when it does not.

“It's important,” said Kendrick Perkins. “No matter how guys try to look at it, you always want home-court as many playoff series as you can.”

It's been ages since Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has cared about playoff seeding. When he came to town last year Popovich spoke of team success in the postseason being largely dependent on a club's current climate.

“It's more what kind of rhythm you have going into the playoffs,” Popovich said. “How much trust teammates have built. How healthy they are.”

The Thunder has those ingredients and the Spurs don't at the moment. At least not health.

Spurs guard Tony Parker is sidelined for about a month with a severe ankle sprain. Starting in Parker's place is second-year guard Cory Joseph, who carries season averages of 3.8 points and 1.6 assists.

But the Thunder is proceeding with caution.

“Without Tony, they still win games,” Brooks said. “They've got great players. They've got a deep team. They're not just a one-man, two-man, three-man team. They got a very good bench that plays hard and plays together.”

Said Kevin Durant: “They move the ball so well. Everybody knows their role. Guys don't go outside their means as far as doing what they're supposed to do in the system. Tony Parker's out, Tim Duncan's out, Manu (Ginobili's) out, there still the same result … I think it's because of what Pop teaches. Everybody knows what to do.”

Seems the Thunder has decided to embrace an important task, too.