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NBA FINALS: HEAT v THUNDER


June 18, 2012


Scott Brooks


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q.テつ Erik, Dwyane and LeBron were up here saying there's a good chance neither team is going to get to the top of its A game because of the opposition, because of the quality of the defense.テつ Does this series have the look of that to you?テつ And do you think being what you were, say, against the Spurs and maybe earlier against the Lakers and Mavericks, that maybe we won't see that, and this will be a gritty sort of grimy series?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ I agree.テつ I agree.テつ I think both teams are very physical defensively, both teams do not want to let their opponent get into the offense early and get to their spots.テつ But that's how we play, and I know that's how they play, and I think what's what you're going to see.テつ I thought they made a few extra plays last night that we did not make, but I thought we played a very competitive game.テつ That game could have easily gone either way.

Q.テつ Do you have the type of team where you have to go remind them that you were in a deeper hole just one round ago or do you have the type of team where you don't really have to talk about the stakes and you can keep looking forward?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ We talk about things.テつ We always talked about playing better and looking forward to the next game.テつ We've always done that.テつ We had a couple of games, a couple plays here and there that could have changed things up, but we don't look at that or feel sorry for ourselves that we didn't win the game.テつ We felt we had a chance to win the game, and we try to get better from it and move onto the next game.
We know we were down 2‑0 against San Antonio, and everybody thought the series was over.テつ But I know our guys, they're very competitive, they're very resilient.テつ They've always showed that type of effort every game, and we've always been a great bounce‑back team.テつ I thought last night was a great bounce‑back last night.テつ It's unfortunate we didn't make a couple plays, and uncharacteristic, also.テつ We missed a lot of free throws.テつ During a critical stretch we gave up eight free throws, also, in the last four of five minutes of that third quarter.

Q.テつ James Harden's defense late in the game on LeBron was pretty good, but offensively what led to his struggles last night?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ You know, he missed some shots, and he missed some opportunities in transition, missed a lay‑up in transition early in the game.テつ But I thought defensively he was good.テつ There's going to be nights that you're not going to make your shots.テつ He had a great shooting night the game before.テつ He had a rough shooting night.
He just has to come back with the same amount of confidence that he always does, and hopefully he has a better shooting night.テつ But he played a great game.テつ Defensively he was into it.テつ He was always in good help position.テつ He was good one‑on‑one.テつ You're talking about Wade and LeBron, those guys are the best players in the league at their positions, and they're hard to guard.テつ But I thought James did a very good job of guarding them.

Q.テつ Offensively this isn't a rare thing for him against Miami.テつ How do you guys get him going against the Heat?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ Well, we got him going last game.テつ It's game to game.テつ Every game it's its own self.テつ They do a good job of putting two on the ball.テつ James is one of the best pick‑and‑roll players in the game, and he creates a lot of opportunities for himself and his team.テつ They do a great job ‑‑ they're aggressive on their pick‑and‑roll defensive coverages, and we have to do a better job of releasing some of that pressure by making quick passes, and we have to continue to do what we do well, and we have to just get a little bit better.

Q.テつ You said last night that when you took Russell out in the third quarter, it was because it was time for a breather, and also because he had run into a rough stretch.テつ The fact that he stayed a little bit longer than maybe you intended, was that because you felt like you guys were playing better without him on the court or because maybe you were trying to get a message to him?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ No, there was no message, I just took him out.テつ He had a bad stretch.テつ He was about to come out within probably the next two minutes to get his normal rest.テつ As much as I love Russell, and everybody knows how much I love Russell, it's hard to play 24 straight minutes at the high level that he plays at both ends of the floor in a major playoff game.
But I took him out.テつ That bad stretch, part of it was we fouled two three‑point shooters and gave him six free throws, and in that same stretch we missed five free throws, and we missed two open jump shots, turned it over and missed a lay‑up.テつ So there's a lot of things that happened during that stretch.
Russell, I took him out two minutes probably just to regroup, but I was going to put him back in, and he played the last 12 minutes of that fourth quarter.

Q.テつ Do you expect that's over?テつ It seemed like he was brooding on the bench at the time.テつ Is that over and onward and upward?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ Oh, absolutely.テつ That's what coaches do.テつ Coaches try to figure out the best lineups going forward.テつ Russell has been a winner, and he's put us in this position, and we wouldn't be here in this position if it wasn't for Russell.テつ That's over with.テつ We're moving on to Game 4.テつ It's never nothing personal with me.テつ It's about getting better, trying to figure out lineups that we can move forward.テつ When Kevin got the fourth foul, that kind of changes the dynamic of that game because Kevin, I think he had 23 points at that time, things were going very well.テつ So there was a lot of times that we had other things that we had to figure out.テつ But I thought that stretch where we fouled the two three‑point shooters really was a big part of their comeback, and then we missed five free throws in that stretch, and as you know, we're the best free‑throw shooting team in the league.

Q.テつ Two straight games Kevin has gotten in foul trouble.テつ What can you do, any adjustments, any defensive assignment changes?テつ What can you tell him or do to make sure he doesn't get in foul trouble?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ Well, obviously we looked at all five of his fouls 1,000 times in the last 12 hours or so.テつ He has to do what he does.テつ He's only been in this position, I think, two other times in the regular season, and he's been‑‑ two games in a row.テつ Kevin is an aggressive player.テつ He plays aggressive basketball, and he's a defensive player, and a lot of times you look at him, how gifted he is offensively, but we're a good team because he defends, and he has to continue to defend.テつ We might have to change a few things up, but he's an aggressive player both ends of the floor.テつ He has to put himself in a position to get fouled, also.テつ The guy who guards him, I think has to‑‑ he has to be able to get to that free‑throw line just as much as he's giving them free‑throw opportunities.

Q.テつ Any second thoughts on your philosophy of taking him out with four fouls in the third quarter?テつ Anything that happened last night make you change your thinking on that?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ No, I think that's pretty sound.テつ He picked up the fourth one.テつ I knew I was going to put him back in the fourth quarter to play the 12 straight minutes.テつ On the fifth foul I knew I was going to play him the rest of the game.テつ He's smart enough to realize that he has five and he's not going to get a sixth.テつ But you just never know.テつ You can get cheap fouls, and that happens, and you move on from it and you go to the next game.

Q.テつ Over the last two years when you've played small, you've typically most often kept Perk on the floor and taken Ibaka off.テつ I was wondering if you could talk about how you make that choice, and why is it usually Perk that stays on the floor?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ Well, last night I thought Perk had probably his best game of the series.テつ He was active, he was defending, I thought he did a great job of Bosh.テつ He was rebounding offensively and defensively and he was really plugging the paint.テつ They didn't get a lot of points in the paint, and that was because of Perk.テつ I thought he had his best game.テつ We have some good choices, that's why we're here in The Finals, and we have some good choices for our bigs.テつ A lot of times you can't play two bigs because LeBron is playing the four, puts a lot of pressure on who we decide to play.
But I thought Perk was really good, and if he plays this well again, and hopefully he does, he'll probably get those same minutes.

Q.テつ If you thought there was a disparity in fouls, what would you do?テつ Who would you talk to, and have you?
COACH SCOTT BROOKS:テつ No, I didn't think so.テつ We always talk about our first defense is guard your man without fouling, and we fouled too many times.テつ But we've always done a good job of closing that gap because we're an aggressive team.テつ We get to the foul line.テつ We have to do a better job of doing that.テつ We fouled those two three‑point shooters.テつ I looked at it and I was hoping that the guy flopped, but he didn't.テつ We fouled him two times, and you live with it.テつ That's the thing in NBA basketball,you always complain during the game, "I didn't foul him,"テつ but looking back, it's a foul.テつ You play a pick‑up game it's the same thing.テつ "I didn't foul him."テつ "No, it's a foul."テつ You have an argument, then you shoot for the ball and whoever gets the ball.テつ We can't do that here.テつ We have to live with it.テつ But I thought the two calls were great.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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