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Thunder showcases its improvement against L.A.

By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, Published: April 22, 2010
Immediately after the Oklahoma City Thunder completed its spiral, sputtering down the stretch of the regular season so much it had to settle for the eighth seed in the West, coach Scott Brooks’ spin was that his team could at least showcase its improvement while playing the defending champion Lakers.

That’s what happened in Los Angeles.

In Game 2 of this best-of-seven series, the Thunder tallied 17 blocked shots. That figure set a franchise playoff record and was three shy of the NBA playoff record. And with the block party being broadcast on TNT — the Thunder’s first-ever appearance on the network — Oklahoma City showed the NBA world just how much it has blossomed.

"You don’t see the Lakers get their shot blocked that often,” Brooks said. "I don’t know when was the last time they’ve had that many of them swatted away. I just liked the activity. I liked the aggressive nature of our guys.”

That nature is apparent on the defensive end. The Thunder was 22{+n}{+d} in the league with 4.5 blocks per game last season, but improved to No. 1 at 5.9 this season.

But, thanks in large part to the rejections, the Thunder also held the Lakers to 37.5 percent shooting in Game 2, just two days after limiting L.A. to 41 percent shooting in Game 1.

The goal is to duplicate that effort in tonight’s Game 3 as the series shifts to Oklahoma City with the Thunder trailing 2-0.

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