SACRAMENTO — Midway through practice on Monday afternoon at Sacramento State University, the lights in the gym went out. No matter. The Thunder just kept practicing in the dark.
After the overhead lighting above the court suddenly cut out during an offensive drill, the team milled about for a minute as staff tried to determine the cause of the outage. The players’ eyes started to adjust a bit to the dark, so when the idea popped into Russell Westbrook’s brain to call out an offensive set, his teammates were ready and in position to execute the play.
“We’re here. We might as well try to figure out and see how good we know each other,” Westbrook grinned.
There were a few bobbled passes and some errant shots, but you could just imagine these players as kids again, not letting any of the elements get in the way of playing the game. It was fun moment for the ball club as they got prepared for the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, in hopes of snapping a two-game skid.
“We just went. Nobody complained,” Westbrook said. “It kind of relates to the game. Sometimes things don’t go your way and as players you tend to fall back on yourself instead of your teammates. With the lights off, you gotta rely on your teammates. That was a good example of that.”
Eventually, after about ten minutes, the lights did come back on, and the Thunder kept chugging. In bouncing back from Sunday’s tough loss in Portland, the Thunder used Monday’s practice to fine tune its closeouts, defensive coverages and offensive execution.
Against the Kings on Tuesday, the Thunder will need to be sharp on both sides of the ball as it works to become a team that can win against any team, on any floor, regardless of the elements.
Thunder Talk: Coach Donovan