Fast Break Points- May 20 Notebook
Brooks said that getting the deficit back down to ten was important, because the game feels like it’s back within reach. If the Thunder hadn’t gotten a basket and a stop on that sequence, Game 4 could have ended differently. Fortunately for the Thunder, Fisher has provided those type of basketball plays, along with intelligence, leadership and intangibles since arriving in Oklahoma City.
“That shot was big,” Brooks said. “He does all the little things too and leadership, you can’t put a win total on it, but you know the effect it has on the team.”
Below are the Fast Break Points from Sunday's media session as the Thunder prepares for Game 5 in its Round 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Playoffs.
- Brooks said the team understands what kind of opportunity is front of it, recognizing the history and consistent success the Los Angeles Lakers franchise has sustained. With Kobe Bryant, the Lakers will always be a threat, which has made Kevin Durant’s emerging defense an important fact to take the Thunder to another level.
- Brooks had this to say in terms of the x’s and o’s of execution in the fourth quarter: “Offensively you have to focus on not turning the ball over and getting a good shot. If you have good offense, you’re going to make that shot 46 to 50 percent of the time. Defensively you really have to lock in because that’s the side of the floor that you can commit 100 percent of your effort and energy to get a stop.”
- Finding themselves winning a number of games in the final minutes during these Playoffs, Brooks reflected on how his team has developed over the past four seasons. He credited the experience the Thunder has gained over the past three years as the team’s win totals have increased. “We were learning how to win games,” Brooks said. “I always told our guys, we’re not losing games, we’re learning how to win games and we just took that mentality every day in practice and in the games we did the same thing.”
- The Thunder has fronted the post on defense some throughout the series, because Andrew Bynum is a big guy that can hold his spot on the low post. It’s not easy to front him because he’s 7’2” and if the Thunder doesn’t have weakside help, that’s an automatic dunk, according to Brooks. In Game 4, the weak side defenders were really active and the on ball defender wouldn’t allow the easy pass to be made.
- Russell Westbrook kept the Thunder in the game early and kept them within striking distance throughout the game. Brooks said that it was important to keep that deficit to a manageable number of seven to nine points. The Thunder bench has been shortened a little bit based on matchups, along with how many minutes the Lakers have played Bynum and Gasol, but everyone stays ready.
- Brooks said that Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins will likely get some treatment for their hip injuries but he expects them both to be fine. He’s not sure about Nick Collison, but he said he talked to Collison’s mom after the game about her sons’ head injury, which earned a laugh from the reporters in attendance.