With the series tied 2-2, it’s now best-of-three. The Thunder has momentum after back-to-back wins, but the series shifts back to the Staples Center. "It doesn’t matter what’s happened previously,” said Nick Collison. "We’ve just got to try and get two out of these next three. I’m sure that’s their mindset, too. They’ve been in battles before. They’re tested. They’ve been through a lot of tough series... "We’re real confident, but we were confident going into the series that we could play well. A couple of wins do nothing but help that. We’re ready to go. But LA is going to be ready.”
Turnover reductionOklahoma City finished the regular season 24th in the league in turnovers, averaging 15.0 a game. In four playoff games the Thunder has averaged only 12.8, close to the Lakers’ 12.3. "We’ve stressed during games we have to take care of the ball and we have to get good shots every time down the court,” said coach Scott Brooks. "The last two games I felt that was a big key to our wins. Getting an opportunity to score every time down court is so important.”
Kobe’s shooting slumpLos Angeles star Kobe Bryant shot poorly before he sat out four of the Lakers’ last five regular season games. His shooting hasn’t improved in the playoffs. Counting Bryant’s last three regular season games and four playoff games, Bryant is shooting 34.6 percent in April. One theory is Kobe’s broken finger on his shooting hand, which he injured Dec. 11, hasn’t improved, and a sore right knee prevents him from taking the ball to basket with his right hand, a key element of his game. "It’s affecting (my ability to get to the rim) a little bit,” Bryant said. "But we’ll get on top of it. I’ll be ready to go.”
Towel waver?Collison was asked if he remembers Brooks playing in the playoffs. "I remember some towel waving,” Collison cracked. "I vaguely remember those series, but I was pretty young. I could be wrong. Maybe he played huge minutes.” The truth is in the middle. Brooks played in nearly half of the playoff games his teams were involved in but recorded 28 DNPs (did not play). Brooks averaged 2.6 points and 1.7 assists, averaging 10.4 minutes in 34 playoff games. Maybe Collison remembers the 1994 Rockets championship team. Brooks appeared in only five of Houston’s 23 playoff games. That post-season Brooks definitely waved a towel more than minutes played.