Every coach will tell you there is no such thing as a team playing a perfect game.
It's just not physically or mentally possible, so the goal is to perform as well as possible for as long as possible.
Though OKC is 14-3 and atop the Western Conference standings entering Wednesday's 7 p.m. home contest against New Orleans, the Thunder has yet to dominate the way many had projected this season, including the Thunder players themselves.
Despite a shiny record, OKC has yet to play a full 48 minutes this season.
“Not yet. I don't think so,” starting guard Thabo Sefolosha said of his team clicking on all cylinders. “We had games where we showed it, but there were parts that we didn't. We've just got to keep improving, keep finding one another, sharing the ball and playing defense.”
In its last outing, the Thunder might have played its most impressive stretch of the season during the first quarter of Monday night's 99-79 home victory over Detroit.
En route to taking a 29-12 lead in the first period, OKC outshot the Pistons 57.1 percent to 16.7 percent, owned a 16-6 command of the boards, outscored Detroit 14-2 in the paint and 15-1 on fast break points.
With 4½ minutes left in the second period, the Thunder had built its lead to 32. Had it kept the pedal to the metal against the Motor City, the Thunder could have won by half-a-hundred or more, a crazy occurrence in the NBA.
Granted, this was the 2012 Pistons, not the 2004, 1990 or 1989 model. That didn't make it any less enjoyable for OKC coach Scott Brooks to watch while reviewing the game Tuesday morning.
“I don't know if we can play a better 12 minutes of basketball,” Brooks said. “That was outstanding on both ends. Even when we got beat defensively, we had two or three guys helping and guys helping the helper. That's when you're really good and locked in and engaged defensively.
“Everybody was in a defensive stance. The ball was moving. We were running. It was about as good as you can possibly play. I don't know if you can do that for 48 minutes, but that's what every coach strives to do. We played a solid game.”
OKC will go for an encore performance Wednesday night against the struggling Hornets (3-14), who have lost eight straight.
Brooks has sat his starting lineup the entire fourth quarter on four occasions this season, so there no doubt have been some quality moments. But have there been enough of them?
“I think we're playing good, but we have to keep pushing our team to play better,” Brooks admitted. “I think every coach, every team, wants to play solid for 48 minutes. It's something you strive for. I don't think we've had that for 48 minutes, but we've played well for stretches.”
Particularly pleasing to Brooks on Monday night was the Thunder's fast start defensively, which is always beneficial.
“There are so many variables that go into it,” Brooks said of having a good start. “Everybody has to be ready to play, and that's our job as a team and my job as a coach to make sure everybody's ready to play – try to find the chemistry, try to find the energy that's going to give you a chance to win. (Monday) night, everybody from the opening tap was ready to play. Nobody wanted to be the one who got scored on, and when you have that for a majority of the game, you're going to put yourself in position to win.
“I couldn't ask for better effort … you could just tell the players cared about each other. They didn't want to let their teammates down and be scored upon.”