“But we ought to just keep being motivated,” he said, “and don't get bored with the process.”
Even in three out of four of the recent defeats, the Thunder can point to positives, such as the team's defensive performance that bordered on dominant despite the losses.
In two of those losses (Memphis and Miami), the Thunder held opponents below 40 percent shooting. Indiana, meanwhile, shot just 41.2 percent.
“Our defense was on point,” Perkins said. “I felt like we struggled offensively, which happens…I felt like in each one of them games, we had a chance to win it. We should have won a few of them.”
Perkins was asked if he still felt good about his team, if the Thunder still was in a good place.
“I mean, why wouldn't I be feeling good?” Perkins asked, flipping the question back onto a reporter. “We're still No. 1 in the West. We're still one of the top two teams in the league. I feel like we worked hard to get where we at. If we have these losses early in the season or in the middle of the season, we probably wouldn't say nothing about it. But just the timing of it right now is just what it is.”
Lost in the last few losses is the eight-game opportunity the Thunder still has to go into the postseason with a head of steam. This rough stretch will become a distant memory if OKC closes the season with six or seven solid wins in the final eight.
“There's still time,” Brooks said. “I know we had a tough stretch. But it was very good teams we were playing. And I think it made us better. I think when you play against good teams and you have close games, sure, you'd love to win them all. But that's unrealistic. You have to give yourself a chance to win them all and I think we've done a pretty good job with that.”
That's all Brooks can ask for.
If he gets it, everyone can live with the sting of a bad stretch — because there is reason to believe the pain will only be short-term.
“That's part of it. It's a tough league,” Brooks said. “It's a tough schedule for everybody, not just us. We're focused on improving day-to-day, game-to-game and not worried about what our record was the last six games.”