By Darnell Mayberry
In the Thunder's preseason debut, Houston scored 18 fast-break points, with eight coming in the opening quarter.
Two nights later at Utah, the Jazz raced to 29 fast-break points, making a mockery of the Thunder's defense all night.
“We didn't get back well in transition defense,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Teams normally don't run on us because we can run it back on them. But the last two games they did a good job by really pushing the pace and getting easy layups.”
Brooks said that trend needs to change.
“The fundamental principles are you have to get back on the shot,” Brooks said. “And sometimes what we do is we watch. We watch and see if we're going to get the rebound, see if we're going to get the offensive rebound for a kick-out shot. Or we have perimeter players that attack the basket so it puts our floor balance weighted in the wrong direction. So those are things that we have to address.”
THABEET'S FOUL TROUBLE NO BIG DEAL
In each of the first two games, Hasheem Thabeet fouled out.
And it didn't take him more than 16 minutes in either contest — earning him a staggering rate of 19.2 fouls per 48 minutes.
Brooks, however, isn't concerned.
“Coach told me not to worry about the past two preseason games,” Thabeet said. “I had 12 fouls in two games and he told me not to worry just stay aggressive. Keep doing what I do, which is being physical on the post and control the paint.”
Brooks just said fouls are “part of it.”
“You have to be able to play through it,” Brooks said. “At this point, I just tell him don't worry about it. I'm not concerned about the six fouls. Just go out there and play aggressive but be smart. The fouls that he had last game, you can live with them. Eventually those are going to decrease as time goes by.”
THOMPSON TURNING HEADS
Hollis Thompson, the rookie guard fighting for the 15th and final roster spot, made his debut Friday at Utah and scored six points with three rebounds in 20 minutes.
Brooks was among those impressed.
“I thought he played well,” Brooks said. “He's been a great addition to our camp. He's doing the things that we need. He spreads the floor. He makes shots. He can be another long defender. But like every rookie in this league it takes time to learn the system, learn your opponent. But I thought he had a great showing. I was happy for him.”
Kendrick Perkins (wrist) participated in the majority of practice Monday. But there still is no new timeline for when he'll make his debut. The team continues to target the start of the regular season for Perkins.
Thabo Sefolosha (quad) went through all of practice Monday but is unlikely to play against Charlotte in Tuesday's opener, Brooks said. If Sefolosha doesn't play Tuesday night, it's likely he will make his debut Friday against Phoenix in Tulsa.
James Harden (groin) did not practice Monday. He still is listed as day-to-day.