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NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: THUNDER v SPURS

May 31, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Scott Brooks


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA: Practice Day

Q.  When you looked over the film this morning, what kind of stood out to you in terms of what's going to have to be different in Game 6?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, we have to play with better focus.  We have to dictate the game defensively.  We've got to make them feel uncomfortable.  We've got to chase them off the line.  We got beat off the dribble too many times.  They got offensive rebounds, and every time they got one they capitalized on it.  We have to get back in transition.  We have to make sure that we load up to their shooters, chase them off the line.  There's just a variety of things we have to do better.  It's been a strange series, been an interesting series.  There's five games, and there really hasn't been a fourth quarter game yet.  I'm sure they feel the same way, they would like to play better on the road, just like we would like to play better on the road.  But we have to come back and dictate the game defensively.

Q.  Tim Duncan said the same thing you did, that it was one of those weird series.  What do you attribute that to?
SCOTT BROOKS:  I don't think any of us can put our finger on it.  It's just been a strange, interesting series.  Hopefully we can continue to make it that way.  Like I said, there's not a lot of times you can go five straight NBA games with two competitive teams and not have a fourth quarter game.  But we're excited about the opportunity, but we have to definitely come in with the mindset that we're going to dictate the game defensively with our activity, use what we have and advantage in some of the areas that we have with our athleticism and being able to disrupt the flow of their offense.  You have to be able to close out on their shooters on time, on point, and not allow them to take a shot or drive around us and create other opportunities on the weak side.

Q.  Lineup changes have been a big part of this series.  Do you see any forth coming on your end, or is it just a matter of the guys you've got out there playing better?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, we have to play better.  I think that's been the biggest adjustment on both teams.  Both teams when they got down or lost a few games, each team played much better.  We didn't play good enough basketball to beat them on their court, and they were clicking on all areas, their pick?and?roll game, their three?point shooting, 13 threes out of 26 is too many.  We have to do a better job.  We have to be on point all five positions, like I've said many times in this series.  They're not going away.  Those are very skilled basketball players, and they come off the bench with the same type of player.  They can shoot threes and they can move the basketball, and they're very, very good at playing with one another.

Q.  Do you think that KD has gotten more frustrated than usual at times when things start to go downhill?
SCOTT BROOKS:  I don't know if it's more.  I don't know if it's more frustrating.  One of the things, just like all of us, and all of his teammates, he doesn't like to lose, and that bothers him that we've lost the three road games the way we've lost.  We have to do?? I have to do a better job of putting them in positions when he's guarded by?? like last night, guarded by Green, to be able to catch and be able to attack quickly and not a lot of dribbling.  I think that's what he's at his best, when guys are smaller?? guys that are guarding him with small guys.
But I think the frustration level, I think we all get frustrated.

Q.  You always talk about your team is a very emotional team, so when Russ and KD are barking or barking at Serge, do you just blow that off as just those guys doing what they do as opposed to it being something that could be bad?
SCOTT BROOKS:  You know, we've always?? I know this is probably strange to say this, we're always at our best when we're on edge with one another because we are raising the bar high.  We are competitive.  We don't want to let each other down.  Just like when San Antonio had Duncan and I don't know who it was on their team, Green, they had their half quarter break, it happens everywhere.  I know when we're locked in defensively and our competitive spirit is at a high, our guys are ready to fight for one another and sometimes it takes a kick in the pants to get each other to do that.

Q.  It's been hard to match defensive intensity from game to game.
SCOTT BROOKS:  Yeah, it's something we have to do.  We have to be able to get it back tomorrow night.  We have to be able to use it with our athleticism and our defensive toughness, the things that we've worked on all year is to be able to disrupt their offense, dictate the game defensively.  The two games we've won here, they did not have a 30?point quarter.  I think they had eight out of 12 or nine out of 12, eight out of 12, one 29?point quarter.  But we have to be able to lock in defensively, and everybody has to do that.  We can't have one mental breakdown.  The focus has to be all five guys.

Q.  At the other end, what did the video show you about your shot selection last night?
SCOTT BROOKS:  I thought at times we were?? the first quarter we got off to a very good offense.  The ball was moving.  We were executing at a high level.  We weren't defending?? later in that first quarter, I thought the defense in the first part of that quarter, I think they had 17 points with four or five minutes?? four minutes to go.
Offensively obviously we can do better, but it's about defense.  We gave up 117 points, too many 30?point quarters.  We started off the game with a 32?point quarter knowing that they're going to come in and try to go at us and attack the game and not be?? not wait for the game.  They did a good job.  They did a good job.  We've got to come back and bounce back tomorrow night.

Q.  Has this been more of a chess match than other series typically are with moves here, moves there?  Has that been a big part of this to you as a coach?
SCOTT BROOKS:  I think every series you have wrinkles that you put in.  Some of them were very subtle that a lot of people don't see that you have to be able to change things up on whether it's a scheme or a particular play that we run.  We know their plays, they know our plays, and we just have to be able to execute with maximum effort to give ourselves a chance to get a stop.  That's what it comes down to.
A lot of times we go late in the series, you know each other's personalities, you know each other's game, and the Xs and Os are thrown out the window.  It's about coming with sheer determination to outplay your opponent by outworking them, by outplaying them, by out?toughing them.  We have to play with toughness for 48 minutes.

Q.  You guys have played some of your best basketball in the Playoffs with your backs to the wall, kind of in similar situations, down 3?2 to Memphis the first game back and you had that lead and you came back.  What's allowed you guys to keep coming back in those situations?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, we're definitely a team that does not like to lose, and we've always seemed to bounce back.  We're a resilient group.  Obviously we had to win in Memphis in Game 6 and then at home in Game 7, and then we had obviously an emotional letdown against the Clippers with that tough loss that we had there, and then we somehow bounced back and won that game, and then won in another tough place, Game 6 in LA.
So we have the ability to do it, we just have to be able to do it.  Once again, I believe in our guys.  I'm confident in our guys.  We have a great crowd and a great atmosphere.  We've always played well, and we've played well at home against this series.  Like I said, there hasn't been a fourth quarter game.  Not just because we're home that's going to happen again.  We have to do a lot of things well, and it has to start from the defensive end, and that's what we did on the wins that we've had.

Q.  This series has definitely been crazy itself.  Have you thought much about how weird your whole postseason has been with the four?point plays, four straight overtime, Serge is injured, KD's speech, all this stuff?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Yeah, I've thought of it many, many, many times, but that's professional basketball.  The mentally tough guys survive.  That's why you have probably the four best teams in basketball right now.  All the teams have gone through a lot this season.  We definitely have, but it's no time to reflect on it.  It's time to keep building on what we have.  We have an opportunity to win one more game at home to create a Game 7.
I'm sure you guys were the same when you were kids when you played on the playgrounds, you talked about winning a championship and you're down by one with four seconds and you get the shot, most of you probably made it.  Sometimes it took you a couple of dreams to make it, but you made it.
But it was the same thing.  We've got a great opportunity.  We win one game at home, we have a chance to play in a Game 7 on the road to go to the NBA Finals.  What a great way to look at things, and I think our guys are focused on making that happen.  One game, play a good defensive minded game, share the basketball, make plays for each other and play inspiring basketball, and we could have a Game 7 in San Antonio.

Q.  Did Serge go through full practice today?
SCOTT BROOKS:  We didn't even practice.  All we did was watched an hour and a half of film.  That was it.


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