2 min read

Practice Report: Forewarned

Having two days off between playoff games is both nice, and horrible.

Nice because there’s time for the team to practice, a chance for everyone to regroup after a Game 1. Horrible because let’s get on with this thing! One game? Such a tease.

Plus, what is there really to say? The Rockets need to make adjustments, the Thunder have to adjust to their adjustments, and both teams want to play better. Can we play the game already?

“We had a great two days of practice,” Durant said. “We’re focused. We’re locked out. So hopefully we come out and have a good showing.”

Said Scott Brooks: “Today’s practice was outstanding. I thought our focus was good. Our intensity level was very high. We got a few things we wanted to get accomplished on how we can keep improving going into Game 2. We know they’re going to play better. They’re a very good team, well coached. They’re going to play better so we have to be prepared to counter that.”

So that’s good, I guess.

Here’s the danger, and we all saw it last night in Brooklyn: You can’t make assumptions based on a game in the playoffs. You can’t ignore the previous result, but each win only counts as one. The Bulls turned their series around immediately. The goal for any road team in the first two games is to take one, and the Rockets still have that opportunity.

“As you saw what happened with the Bulls and Nets, the Nets handled them the first game and the Bulls came back,” said Kevin Martin. “You never want to turn the page, and just always focus on the next game and that’s what we’re here to do.”

Teams that go up 1-0 go on to win a series roughly 60 percent of the time. Teams that go up 2-0 in a series go on to win almost 94 percent of the time.

“You can rest on the last game and you can’t get too down on yourself on the last game too if you didn’t have the success you wanted,” Brooks said. “I’m sure that’s the message they’re being told. Every game is a new game.”

On the SI piece about being second: “I’ve been second player coming out of high school, out of college. MVP, going on a third time. it is what it is man. I’ve been continuing to work hard. That’s the only thing I can control. Of course I’m tired of being second. Cause I’ve been second ever since I was 16 years old. Everybody loves to be a No. 1. I got to keep working so hopefully I get there.”

On being The Man: “I never looked at myself as bigger than the team. I never looked at it as the guy that was going to shoot all the balls, or score all the points. We’re going to do this together, that’s how I looked at it.”

On getting Most Improved votes: “I didn’t think I would get any votes. The guys I’d vote for were Paul George and Greivis Vasquez. My name shouldn’t even come up with he way those guys changed their games around. And congratulations to Paul George for winning it. But I always try to improve every year so I guess it’s pretty cool I got a couple votes.”

On being in the playoffs: “You look at it and you just feel blessed to be in this opportunity. You never take anything for granted. I played on some pretty good teams but we were just never good enough to sneak in. And on this team, we better than good enough to just sneak in.”

On returning to the playoffs: “It was good to get the seven-year cobwebs out. I was a little antsy at first, but it’s basketball at the end of the day.”

Audio via Randy Renner