Thunder notebook: Smith wears mask after surgery for broken nose

Oklahoman Published: October 23, 2008
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ght of ESPN’s 10 analysts predicted the Thunder will finish 15th, dead last, in the West. The other two analysts selected the Thunder 14th.

"One year in Milwaukee, when Dez (Mason) and I were together, we were picked last in the East and made the playoffs,” Smith said. "You can’t go by what they say. With the talent we have I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

Areas of emphasis
Carlesimo said shooting a better field goal percentage and reducing turnovers will be a priority the final two preseason games. OKC has shot 41.1 percent and averaged 18.6 turnovers in five preseason games.

"Offensively we’re getting more things in, but we really need to start sneaking in situation (plays), things like end-game plays, 3-point plays and cover different situations we haven’t done yet,” Carlesimo said.

"You’d like to put those things in with your front line guys when everybody is there, but we’ve been banged up.

"Defensively, we’re in pretty good shape. We want to go to a second pick-and-roll defense or trap when someone is lighting you up. But for the most part, we’ve put in 80 to 90 percent of the defense.”

By Mike Baldwin