OKC Thunder practice notes – 3 takeaways

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball while being guarded by Steven Adams, Hamidou Diallo OKC Thunder (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball while being guarded by Steven Adams, Hamidou Diallo OKC Thunder (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder gets an unusual three days off in the schedule allowing for practice time. Three takeaways followed the session.

It’s unusual at this time in the season for teams to get extra days off. For the OKC Thunder that proves to be good and bad news.

The great side of the equation is it gives players who are nursing injuries extra time to heal. Moreover, it allows rest time for the Thunder vets.

Practice time – and no Bucks film:

Secondly, for Head Coach, Billy Donovan it gives him an opportunity for practice time. This is critical during this stage of the season as the team needs time to fix specific parts of their system or prepare for elite opponents.

Looking back at the January segment of the schedule it’s super hard to get in much practice time when the team is playing every other day. Players need time to recover and heal and that month simply didn’t afford Billy Donovan much time to do more than limited practice sessions and walkthroughs.

The bad news is the Thunder players have to sit for three days with visions of a 47 point beat down at the hands of the Bucks as their last memory.

To that end, Billy Donovan elected not to go through the film from the Bucks oust. Smart choice!

The team doesn’t need to be reminded of their worst loss this season. They know turning the ball over only served to feed the Bucks transition. They know how valuable Danilo Gallinari is to the big picture and hey they were playing in a back-to-back against the very best team in the league.

Most importantly, as Donovan and Gallo speak to in the above OKC Thunder twitter video is how important spacing is and it sounds like the team spent extra time running through it in practice.

Expect a more physical aggressive defense Tuesday:

Following up on the above notes, the key takeaway is the lesson learned from the Bucks loss is like Milwaukee the Clippers are a lengthy team who aren’t afraid to dig in and play physical.

With Paul George and Patrick Beverley back the Clippers are looking better on both sides of the court. Couple that with the recent additions of Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson and this is an entirely different roster the Thunder are facing this time around.

Moreover, the Thunder has yet to cement their final playoff seeding which could result in an undesirable first-round matchup versus the Clippers. No matter what happens in this match it’s essential the Thunder come out and make LA feel them on defense and send a message — “we aren’t afraid of you!”

Update on Roberson:

Last week fans learned Andre Roberson had returned from being away rehabbing to join the OKC Thunder and rehab in town.

At the time Donovan said he would provide more of an update later in the week.

That this ^^^ was the update didn’t offer much more than what fans already knew. In terms of what can be read into this, it’s hard to say.

Perhaps he is going through individual workouts speaks to the fact he’s still not up to game shape or ready for man on man play. This suggests ARob either suffered a setback in his rehab, required another procedure (unlikely) or simply isn’t progressing at the rate he or the team felt he would.

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There is the outside chance the team wants to keep him segregated from the other players if they feel he could be a negative. That’s also highly unlikely since Roberson has never been anything but a positive upbeat guy and excellent in the locker room.

As for the players held out of practice, it would make sense for the vets (Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams) all to get additional downtime and Gallo also because of the ankle situation. However, it sure looked like Gallo was involved since he was featured on the video although he might have just been in the gym getting up shots.

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The Thunder will likely get in another practice session today as they’re at home preparing for the Clippers on Tuesday, March 3rd.