To this point in the 2011-2012 NBA playoffs, the Thunder have done little wrong. It took them only nine games to reach the Western Conference finals, so Oklahoma City is likely feeling well-rested as they prepare to take on the Spurs. You don’t have that type of success without protecting the basketball, which is exactly what the Thunder have done. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook believe that is due in part to the fact that Thunder coach Scott Brooks has stopped talking about turnovers.
“One thing Scotty needs to do is just shut up,” Durant said jokingly according to The Oklahoman. “We’ll probably be a better team.”
Westbrook agreed that the Thunder were awful at taking care of the ball during the regular season when Brooks harped on it, but now it becomes a chicken vs. egg argument. Has Brooks quieted down about turnovers because his team has cut down on turning it over, or have the Thunder stopped turning it over as much because their coach quit talking about it?
“Usually, I don’t agree with either of those guys much, but they’re telling the truth,” Brooks said. “I haven’t mentioned the turnovers at all. But I haven’t mentioned it because we haven’t turned it over. Trust me, if we’re turning it over 25 times I’m on ‘em and showing every clip and why we’re turning it over because of bad spacing and so forth.”
Oklahoma city is averaging only 10.7 turnovers per game in the playoffs, which is the lowest total of any team. They had the most in the Western Conference with 16.3 during the regular season. Whether they finally got Brooks’ message, or the coach has simply relaxed and let them do their thing, something is working. If they play the way they did through the first two rounds, Oklahoma City has a shot at stopping the smoking hot Spurs.
Photo credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE