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May 19, 2011

Scott Brooks


Oklahoma City Thunder – 106
Dallas Mavericks - 100

SCOTT BROOKS: I thought that was a heck of a win for us. This is not an easy place to play and get a road playoff win, but I thought our guys in the second half really locked in defensively and really did a great job of contesting shots and making them miss some shots. And we know that that's how we have to play.
I mean, they missed some shots that they normally do make, but we made them miss a lot of the shots that they did miss, so I thought it was a great effort. Everybody chipped in. Our bench has been good all year, and I thought they really did a great job tonight.

Q. What was your feeling on the bench? You stuck with them in the critical moments of the game and they all came through, especially Harden. Why did they play so well?
SCOTT BROOKS: James has been improving ever since we drafted him. Coach Kalamian does a great job of really challenging him to get better every day, and we have a lot of confidence in James. I personally do, our team does, our staff does. He made plays. He made big basketball plays, and James is just not a spot-up shooter. He is a penetrator. He is a play maker, and I thought he did it all tonight. He's a terrific player, and he's improving. As the season went along, he has improved. Since we made the trade, he really stepped up to another level that allowed us to continue to get wins when we did have some guys new to our team.

Q. Can you talk about your second-half defense and your reasoning for sitting Russell?
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, our second-half defense was good. You know, we were playing against one of the premier teams, offensive teams in basketball. It was good. We just played hard. Like I told the guys before the game, playing perfect is impossible, but playing hard is possible. You can do that. You can do that every possession, and I thought we did that in the second half. And that's what it's about.
Sticking with Eric over Russell, I thought Eric did a good job. I've done it a few times during the year. It doesn't happen often. Russell is an incredible player. He's our starting point guard. But we weren't getting a lot of things done, and his time was to come out, and I stayed with Eric. I thought Eric was terrific handling the decisions on the court, and guys made big shots.

Q. Talk about the shots at the end. Nick missed those free throws, but he came back and hit those two. How important is that to get his confidence up?
SCOTT BROOKS: You know what, he deserves to make those shots and those free throws, how much he brings to our team. And he just does so many good things for us, and you would hate to have him feel bad if he missed two more of those free throws. It's unfortunate that he missed the two. They both looked good, but he came back.
Nick has a lot of heart. He plays with a pure heart. He plays hard. He does everything for the team, and I'm glad that he hit those free throws. Those were big, big free throws for us.

Q. The way that you defended Dirk tonight, talk about that versus Game 1, and then your bench outscored them 50 to 29, so talk about the group instead of just individual.
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, Dirk is -- he's one of the best players offensively at that spot we saw a couple of nights ago. I thought we did a good job of really getting into him and not allowing him to really like lace it up and just shoot over our head. We did a good job, but it's still not easy. The guy had still had nearly 30 points, and I thought we played as well as we could possibly play. That just tells you how great he is.
Our bench has played good all year for us. We've always felt confident in the bench. A lot of times they play deep minutes in the fourth quarter, but I thought the 50 points that they gave us was the game. It was the game. They really did a good job.
But it's always a team effort when you win. We lose and win as a team. It's good that the guys came in and chipped in and played well for us.

Q. You knew you were going to have to get a road win here. Can you just talk about the importance of getting it this early in the series, and also the look that they showed with Kidd on K.D.?
SCOTT BROOKS: We knew we had to get a road win, no question. If you want to advance, you have to win on this court. And we knew going into it, it's not going to be easy. We gave everything we had. We chipped away last game, came up short, but I thought the guys -- we play hard. That's one of the things that we do.
It's not always pretty, but their effort is usually there every night, every possession, and it was tonight. It was nice to get a road win. Like I said, this is a great building to play in. Crowds are fantastic. They cheer, they support their team very well.
And Jason Kidd is a tremendous defender. He did a good job in the last series, and we knew that he would guard K.D. sooner or later. K.D. is a hard player to guard because he has such great length, and his shot is -- he's just a great shooter.
But it's all about playing -- Kevin making plays, and I thought he made some good plays today and gave open shots to teammates.

Q. I was going to ask you just a little bit more about breaking down his game and also Nazr Mohammed typically will get 10 or so, and he only got a minute and a half tonight. Your thinking there?
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, I wanted to go with a shorter rotation, didn't know if I was going able to do that tonight, but the game allowed me to do that. Nazr has been very good for us since the trade. He's played really well against Memphis. I thought he played big minutes in a few of the last couple games.
But Nazr has to come back and be ready to play. I thought our bench was really good tonight.

Q. You talked about your bench already, but what did you do to keep the Dallas bench from hurting y'all in this game?
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, that's not easy to do. You know, Barea is a tremendous player. I thought he hit a couple of big threes in that second half. We did a good job on Jason Terry. He's a factor, and we knew that, and we just wanted to get a bit closer to him. We wanted to just keep it simple; get closer to him, make him feel our presence.
And I thought the first game we gave him a lot of room, and when you do that with Jason, he burns you every time. He's a terrific player. He's like their sixth starter for their team, but I thought James most of the time did a great job chasing him off the screens.

Q. How tempting was it to put Russell back in this game at any point, especially when they were putting on extreme trap pressure, especially when you needed some stops and how good a defender he is at the other end?
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, that's always a decision. I had that decision for the last six or so minutes, but I thought the game was being played -- we were increasing the lead. We were making shots. I didn't want to mess with the rhythm. I usually will sub him in. Very rarely have I ever done that since Russell has been here.
But it was the decision really -- Eric was playing well. It had nothing to do with Russell. Eric was playing good basketball, solid basketball for us, and we were increasing the lead. The temptation was there when they cut it to six and when they trapped and we had to call a time-out, but I believe in all of our guys. Some guys get more minutes than others, but the minutes that they do, they have to play hard and they do, and I believe in what they do out there.

Q. Even though you guys are tied at 1-1, you guys are averaging about 110 points per game against the Mavericks' great defense. How have you all been able to score against this defense?
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, I thought we made shots tonight. Last game we made some shots. I thought we moved the ball better tonight. But I thought Russell had a good stretch where he was making shots. K.D. was making shots. James was making shots. D.C. made some shots. That's how we play. We're an aggressive team. We use our length and athleticism in the open floor, but it all comes down to getting stops. We gave them 43 points the second half. That allows us to get into transition.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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