During the regular season, the Thunder played 17 back-to-backs — 34 games in 34 days.
In the postseason, there are no back-to-backs. Teams have at least one day off between games, sometimes two. OKC and Denver open their series playing three games in seven days.
“It's definitely a different feel as to how fresh you feel going into a game,” Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison said. “It's a big difference.
“Part of the dynamic of what makes the regular season tough is the marathon aspect of it. In the playoffs, you don't really have that as much. It's more high-intensity, high-energy. It might not seem like that much to people, but that extra day is big. The NBA season kind of accumulates. You never really get that rest you need.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said players being able to rest between games and also during lengthy television timeouts result in better effort.
“In the playoffs, you can really lock in and be committed to every possession,” Brooks said. “It's hard to do that when you have 82 games. We can talk about it and demand it as much as we want, but there are a lot of circumstances that prevent that from happening.”
Players have a chance to receive various treatments during off days, such as massage therapy or a cold tub, but Collison said the biggest benefit is “just the fact you're not playing. You're not as sore the next day.”
Kevin Durant was named Western Conference player of the month for April, when he averaged 26.8 points and 7.3 rebounds en route to securing his second straight NBA scoring title.
Durant also was named Western Conference player of the week twice.
Since the NBA started using its current playoff format in the 1983-84 season, the team with homecourt advantage in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 series has an overall record of 27-27. A homecourt breakdown:
Opening round: 166-50 (.769)
No. 1 vs. No. 8: 51-3 (.944)
No. 2 vs. No. 7: 49-5 (.907)
No. 3 vs. No. 6: 39-15 (.722)
No. 4 vs. No. 5: 27-27 (.500)
Conference semifinals: 85-23 (.787)
Conference finals: 37-17 (.685)
Finals: 21-6 (.778)
(Note: First round series were best-of-five from 1984-2002 before changing to best-of-seven; NBA Finals are 2-3-2 format, all other rounds are 2-2-1 or 2-2-1-1-1.)
The NBA broke three ties through random drawings to help determine the order of selection for the NBA Draft to be held June 23 at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Sacramento (24-58) won a tiebreaker with New Jersey. New Orleans (46-36) won a tiebreaker with Memphis. Dallas (57-25) won a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Teams entered in the May 17 lottery are as follows. The first three picks will be determined by the lottery and the remainder will select in positions 4 through 14 in inverse order of their consolidated standings at the end of the regular season: Minnesota (250 out of 1,000 chances); Cleveland (199); Toronto (156); Washington (119); Sacramento (76); New Jersey, traded to Utah (75); Detroit (43); LA Clippers, traded to Cleveland (28); Charlotte (17); Milwaukee (11); Golden State (8); Utah (7); Phoenix (6); Houston (5).
The order for remaining first-round picks: 15. Indiana; 16. Philadelphia; 17. New York; 18. Atlanta; 19. New Orleans (to Charlotte via Portland); 20. Memphis (to Minnesota via Utah); 21. Portland; 22. Denver; 23. Orlando (to Houston via Phoenix); 24. Thunder; 25. Boston; 26. Dallas; 27. LA Lakers; 28. Miami; 29. San Antonio; 30. Chicago.
Second round: 31. Minnesota (to Miami); 32. Cleveland; 33. Toronto (to Detroit); 34. Washington; 35/36. New Jersey; 35/36. Sacramento; 37. Detroit (to LA Clippers); 38. LA Clippers (To Houston); 39. Charlotte; 40. Milwaukee; 41. Golden State (to LA Lakers via New Jersey); 42. Indiana; 43. Utah (to Chicago or to Golden State via Chicago); 44. Phoenix (to Chicago or to Golden State via Chicago); 45. Philadelphia (to New Orleans); 46. New York (to LA Lakers); 47. Houston (to LA Clippers); 48. Atlanta; 49. Memphis; 50. New Orleans (to Philadelphia); 51. Portland-x; 52. Denver-y; 53. Orlando; 54. Oklahoma City (to Cleveland via Miami); 55. Boston; 56. LA Lakers; 57. Dallas; 58. Miami (to LA Lakers); 59. San Antonio; 60. Chicago (to Sacramento via Milwaukee).
Note: Teams that finished the regular season with identical records will select in the second round in the reverse of the order in which they select in the first round. With respect to the tie between New Jersey and Sacramento (35 and 36), since the order of selection in the first round for this set of teams may change based on the results of the lottery, the order of selection in the second round cannot be determined until after the lottery is conducted.
*x — This pick may be conveyed to Detroit via Denver.
*y — This pick may be conveyed to Portland or to Detroit.
“I'm the last guy to coach trash talking. I am no trash talker. My trash talking was like, ‘In your eye' and ‘FACE!' The big thing back then if you were ready for a fight is someone said, ‘Your mama.' Then I'd go get Charles (Barkley) and say, ‘They're talking bad about me.'” — Brooks