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NBA FINALS: HEAT v THUNDER


June 18, 2012


Russell Westbrook


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q.  Looking back at the third quarter last night, how much did it hurt having you and Kevin, hurt the momentum of the game having you and Kevin on the bench for so long?  And what conversations, if any, did you have with Scott about maybe coming back into the game?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  You know, it was tough.  We had a nice little lead going into the fourth quarter.  Wasn't really too much I could do about it, nor Kevin.  Kevin had five fouls at the time.  But it was the coach's decision.  You have to live with it.  Didn't have too many conversations of coming back into the game, just kind of just waited and seeing when I get called to go back in.

Q.  But do you think it hurt the momentum of the game, such a pivotal time?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  It was a tough time.  I don't know if it was that particular situation that hurt it.  But it was tough.

Q.  Dwyane said that he was asked to come out of the game by Coach Spoelstra, and he said, I'm going to stay in, and he played all 24 minutes in the second half.  What do you think it'll take for you to have that type of relationship with Coach Brooks where you can just say, no, I'm good?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:¬† I don't know.¬† I mean, I kind of just‑‑ the coach makes the decisions.¬† He's been making them all season.¬† So I just roll with it.

Q.¬† You guys played some nice up‑and‑down series earlier in the Playoffs, but your coach was in here before and Erik Spoelstra said this might be more of a gritty series and maybe we won't see either of the teams' sort of A games.¬† Do you think it's because of the level of the defense, the level of the Playoffs you're at right now?¬† And do you think we'll see sort of the beautiful game you guys have played all year, or is this a different kind of series?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  It's definitely a different series.  There haven't really been too many transition buckets either way.  That's what both teams do well.  You know, it's the NBA Finals, and teams are trying to win, and you have to be able to stop the opposing team to give yourself a chance to win the game.

Q.  When you came out of the game yesterday in the third quarter, you looked like you hit or slapped the chair.  What were the emotions behind that?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  Just wanted to stay in the game.  You know, it was an important time at the time, an opportunity for us to go up who knows how many points.  Just upset with myself.

Q.  That time you sat on the bench, was there anything you learned from being out?  It seemed like last night, if I recall correctly, Scott said he wanted you to kind of cool off.  Was there anything to learn from that?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  Not really.  I don't know.  But just be ready to go back in.

Q.  Did Scottie tell you why he took you out and why you stayed so long?  You usually don't sit five full minutes of the third quarter.  Did Scottie or Mo come over and tell you why you were sitting so long?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  No.

Q.  Would you have liked somebody to have told you?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  No.  I mean, they don't have to particular cater to what is best for me.  You have to do what is best for the team.

Q.  You guys were able to hold them to 19 percent shooting outside the paint.  What were you doing so well on perimeter defense that you want to do in Game 4?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  Just clogging off the paint.  I think guys did a great job of just walling off the paint.  We start rebounding the ball, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds early in the game, but I think towards the end of the game and the end of the third quarter did a great job of walling off the paint.

Q.  16.2 seconds left coming off of the timeout play, you and Sefolosha had a turnover.  Can you talk a little bit about that play and how that made you feel?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:¬† Yeah, I just was trying to get to the ball as quick as possible, and Thabo just‑‑ he threw it, and I just kind of faked it out, and the ball happened to go to the Miami Heat.

Q.  What's the attitude of the team today?  Do you guys feel like maybe you let one get away?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  We felt we let two games get away.  We honestly felt we had an opportunity to win both games, and tomorrow we think we have an opportunity to win again.

Q.  You've taken a lot of Heat for your team's woes this series.  James Harden really hasn't put up his usual numbers.  How important is it to get James Harden going on the offensive end?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK:  I think James is doing a great job.  They're just putting two guys on the ball, and he's making an extra pass.  I think last night he did a great job of just hitting the open guy, hitting bigs, hitting guys for easy baskets.  He'll get going.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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