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Thunder big men stick to the plan

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: April 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm •  Published: April 21, 2011
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Oklahoma City power forward Nick Collison said the Thunder had the proper defensive game plan for Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, but from the opening tip – for some inexplicable reason – his team didn't stick to that plan.

In Game 2, the plan stuck.

This is why Game 1 became a 107-103 survival and Game 2 was a 106-89 domination over the Nuggets inside Oklahoma City Arena.

Game 3 comes Saturday in Denver at 9 p.m., and Collison sees no reason to change any X or O. The plan is simply a matter of doing what's right and doing it early.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his players expressed disappointment in their Game 1 defensive execution, but stressed they would only have to make minor adjustments. The biggest adjustment was quicker recognition of what the Nuggets do best.

"We have certain coverages on pick-and-rolls," Collison explained. "We had to get into those sooner so they couldn't break it and go the opposite way. There's a fine line in executing that. It's about seeing that stuff early and that's mainly what we were missing."

The Thunder trio of Serge Ibaka (12), Kendrick Perkins (11) and Collison (eight) combined for the same number of rebounds as the entire Denver team in Game 2. OKC dominated the boards by an astounding 54-31 tally that included a 17-5 advantage at the offensive end.

"You don't go into a game thinking you'll outrebound a team by that margin," Brooks said.

In Game 1, the Thunder outrebounded the Nuggets by a more modest 37-34 count, primarily because both teams missed fewer shots and the Nuggets frequently got the ball close to the basket.

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