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Thunder insider: OKC needs to zone in on zone defense

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 3, 2011
At times, the Thunder also has been hampered by Thabo Sefolosha's inability to consistently knock down perimeter shots, which has allowed defenses to essentially ignore him and clog the paint.

“We haven't been used to playing against zone,” said point guard Eric Maynor. “But as soon as we can get to where we can get that ball inside and attack the gaps it's going to be real easy.”

That Suns game last Wednesday provided one possible remedy.

As the game wore on, Russell Westbrook began to bull his way to the rim. Then, it was the Suns who didn't have an answer. Westbrook's speed applied so much pressure on Phoenix that the Thunder was able to break open the game before eventually securing an 18-point blowout.

“Russell's as quick at getting into the paint as anybody in the league,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “When he does that, it puts a lot of pressure on the zone. He's our best attack guy. And he has to use that. We can't settle for outside shots. When Russell attacks, it draws defenders and he can kick it out for open 3s. That's when you make those shots. When Russell does that, it makes us a good zone offensive team.”

Or as Maynor put it: “If he continues to do that then teams can't play zone.” Thunder Bandwagon