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May 20, 2011

Scott Brooks


Q. What do you take away from the first two games? Obviously Dirk goes nuts in one game, your bench kills them in Game 2. In total what do you make of it?
SCOTT BROOKS: Is that the first question you really want to ask?

Q. Why, is it going to be really long?
SCOTT BROOKS: You know, it's two good teams. I really believe that both teams are capable of playing great basketball, and they did play great basketball in Game 1. Dirk was as good as anybody can play.
In the second game we did a better job on all their players, and that's not easy to do. They're a very good passing team. But defensively in the second half we really changed the game. We upped our energy and were really getting out to their shooters and really did a good job of containing the basketball. We played good basketball. We gave up four straight quarters of 30 points or more, and in the last three quarters we did not give up a 30-point quarter. That's good. That's what we pride ourselves on, keeping that scoreboard to a number that's manageable, and last night we did that.

Q. When a guy like Russell doesn't play at all in the fourth quarter in a huge playoff game, how does he bounce back?
SCOTT BROOKS: Russell is a tremendous player for us. He has improved as much as anybody in this game. Really I look at that game last night, the group is playing good basketball. Took Russell out -- actually Russell was playing very good in the third quarter. I usually take him out like the three-minute mark. I think I took him out with under 30 seconds to go, so I gave him an extra couple minutes. But the group was playing well. It wasn't just Russell. I didn't play Perk in the fourth quarter, and I usually put him back with six or seven minutes to go. I didn't play Serge. I didn't play Thabo. But the group was playing well, Eric was playing well; you see they were making shots and Kevin and Nick were in a good rhythm. It was really about that.
Russell has always been a team guy. He focuses on improving himself but getting the team better, and there's no -- nothing about it. We won the game, and it was always about the team.
We have a good team. I know we have two All-Stars that really do a great job of leading us to places that we want to get to, but it takes another 13 guys that make up the team. Give them credit. They came in and played good, and I stuck with them. Normally I don't. Normally I go back with our starters because that's what they do, but I felt like night in my gut and in my heart that that team was deserving of finishing off the game.

Q. (Inaudible.)
SCOTT BROOKS: I talk to the guys all the time. I yelled at Kevin first half because he didn't get back on defense. He gave Shawn Marion two over-the-top lay-ups. Those are the exchanges that happen constantly throughout the game. It wasn't -- I didn't take him out because he made a mistake, I took him out because that was his time to come out. I didn't put him back in because the group was playing well. The group was playing great basketball. We were making shots and we were getting stops and we were really doing a great job. Dirk had another moment that we were having trouble stopping him, but I thought we were containing the other guys.
It sounds good. I know you guys do a great job on what you have to do, but it's nothing about -- I talked to the group today. We mentioned, talked about last night's game. We watched film. We made some adjustments and are going to make some adjustments going into next game. But today's practice was just about Game 3.

Q. (Inaudible.)
SCOTT BROOKS: Did you talk to him already? He's competitive. That's what makes Russell good. If he wasn't competitive, if he didn't care about how he played, he would be a very average player. But he's competitive, he has a lot of heart, and he plays like that. He's aggressive on offense. When he is at his best he attacks defensively. He wants to play, no doubt. If he wasn't frustrated, if he didn't feel a little frustrated in the fourth quarter, I would have a problem with that.

Q. When a guy of his stature doesn't play it's so much more magnified. It's not like Perk and Thabo Ibaka. So even from his standpoint, the world is now looking at me, I didn't play. How do you get through that moment with him?
SCOTT BROOKS: Well, if he wasn't -- if he was a selfish guy that was all about him, I would be worried because I would -- if that was the case we wouldn't be in the position we're in now. With Russell, he's about team. He wants to play well. All the guys do. You want to play well and win, there's no doubt that's important, but if it's not -- the win is not the most important, then your heart is not in the right place, and we don't want you on our team. You have to also want to play well. They usually go hand in hand. Russell is about winning. He's about the team. He understands.
I get on our guys all the time. I don't tell the world; it's not my personality. But our guys know how I feel, and we talk, we communicate, we have dialogue, and sometimes it's a tough conversation. But like I said, I was on Perk, also. I was on KD earlier. I was on Russell. That's how I coach. It's coaching, it's not scolding. That's what I do. That's what a coach is supposed to do, try and get the team to play at a good level, and I thought that unit was playing good basketball. Usually I don't go with that unit to close out a game, but last night I just felt that that was the right thing to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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