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.