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Oklahoma City Thunder: Time to get down to business

With 10 games remaining, the next three weeks will be the final chance the Thunder has to shore up some of its issues before the playoffs. AS OKC gears up for the stretch run, starting with Friday's game at Minnesota, here are 10 things to watch in the final 10.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 28, 2013

Ball movement: It's become a broken record. The Thunder is at its best when everyone on the court is a threat to score. Sharing the ball is the only way that happens. OKC is 23-2 when at least five players score in double figures and 36-3 when it has more assists than the opponent. Conversely, the Thunder is just 15-14 when its opponent has more assists. After finishing last in assists a year ago, the Thunder now ranks 20th with 21.5 per game. But the ball, as coach Scott Brooks says, still has a tendency to get “sticky.”

Communication: Again, there are no metrics for this category. You'll just know it when you see it. If there are missed assignments and broken coverages, chances are the Thunder did a poor job of communicating. If rotations are swift and players are on one accord, the communication is where it needs to be, which will only help the team's defense.

The big six-0: The Thunder needs to go at least 7-3 to record its first 60-win season in the franchise's Oklahoma City era. Even if this Thunder team will be judged solely on its postseason performance, it's impossible to ignore how impressive a 60-win season would be. Let the countdown begin.

Rebounding: Historically, this is one of the Thunder's biggest problem areas. The good news is the Thunder understands this and is putting the proper attention on remedying the issue. OKC is 37-8 this season when out-rebounding opponents and 13-11 when the opponent wins the battle of the boards.

Bench production: It's taken all season, but after having a negative scoring differential for most of the year the Thunder's bench has finally pulled even in the category. The second unit still is a work in progress and questions remain about exactly what we'll see in the playoffs (Ronnie Brewer anyone?). But we've seen enough progress to believe the bench won't be so bad that it costs the Thunder a series. But these last 10 will provide an indication on how much better the bench can be.

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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