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NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: THUNDER v SPURS


May 26, 2014


Scott Brooks


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA: Practice Day

Q.  One day later are you amazed with what Serge did last night?
SCOTT BROOKS:  I don't know if that's the right word.  I love what he did.  I love the determination that he played with.  That's something that he's done all along.  That was a great, great game by him.  He impacted the game both ends of the floor.  He's a really good player for us.  I love the fact that he came out and played.  He obviously got clearance from our medical staff, otherwise we wouldn't have put him out there.
I thought he was good.  His minutes were right at the number that I felt comfortable, he felt comfortable.  I took him out a couple times earlier than normal, but I thought he was fine.  His other leg cramped up on him a little throughout the game, but I thought he was a big impact.

Q.  What did you see today in practice?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, all we did is we watched film.  We had a long film session on some of the things we have to get better at going into tomorrow night, and then we walked over a few things on both ends of the floor, so he didn't participate.  But all we did was walk through things.  But he felt good.  He felt good this morning.

Q.  What did you like most about Russ's defense last night?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Just his activity.  I thought he was into the basketball all night long.  Our transition was good.  It's something that we have to be good every game against this team because they're such a quick team up the court after a make, after a miss, it doesn't matter.  They're pushing the ball, they're making that first pass quickly into their early offense.  So I thought Russell was good in picking up his man early and locking in.  But he has the ability to do that, and he does that and he did it at a high level last night.

Q.¬† Can you talk about what Steven Adams was able to do yesterday, as well?¬† Is it getting to a point where he's able to play starter‑type minutes?
SCOTT BROOKS:¬† Well, we're good.¬† We have bigs that can compete.¬† We have to be able to have all of our guys ready.¬† I'm not getting into who plays more minutes.¬† They both have to play well, those two guys have to do their job.¬† They both have to guard Duncan, who is one of the best players ever, and make him miss shots, and I thought they both did that, and they both have to do a good job of pick‑and‑roll coverage, and they do it so many times down the court, you can't take a possession off because it's a lay‑up, it's an open three, it's a roll down the middle of the gut.¬† Steven's impact was good last night.¬† I thought he did a good job of scoring around the basket.¬† He got fouled, so he can obviously do a better job of making free throws.¬† I thought his defense was good.¬† He has a hard job, like we all do.¬† You have to be able to contain all their pick‑and‑roll players, and also get your body back to get the rebounds.
But he's an improving player, and he had a good game last night.

Q.  You talked about the Spurs getting into an early offense.  It seemed like you guys were doing that pretty well last night, as well.  Was that a point of emphasis, or did that come out of your defense being so good?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, I think last night is more of who we are.  Our game plan has always been a defensive mindset, and that was the case last night.  We did a lot of things good defensively, but we still, watching the film and showing the guys, we still have to take another step.  But it helps our offense.  They go hand in hand.  It helps our floor balance.  It helps our spacing.  But I thought our offense was good.  We had too many turnovers which we have to get that down to a reasonable number, and we took a couple of bad shots that we're going to continue to take those down, but I thought our ball movement and our ability to make shots, we still haven't made a lot of threes, but our threes that we did get were good looks and good shots and good looks off of our offense.

Q.  Kevin was saying that some of the turnovers were a result of kind of a hesitation in the flow of the offense.  Have you been able to put your finger on why that is?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, there's a couple of different reasons.  The combination that we were going into the crowd instead of passing out of the crowd.  That's one.  And then two, the other players have to be in the right spot.  If it calls for you to pull over, you have to get there quickly.  And then third is just making the simple play and trusting that your teammate is going to make the backside read at the right time.  But I thought our turnovers can definitely be a lot lower going into the next game.

Q.  What do you want to see out of your guys when they're defending in those situations?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, you have to guard them early in the clock and you have to guard them late in the clock.  They're going to try to keep scoring off of their movement plays.  They're good players.  They come off of screens, and as we saw the first possession of the game where Green hit the wing three on the right side in front of our bench, you give a little bit of separation, it's not good enough.  You have to be on them step by step, following them, chasing their footsteps and being able to contest right on the catch.  We have to keep doing a good job with that.  We did a better job with that, but we have to take it to another level tomorrow night.

Q.  Can you talk about the minutes Jeremy Lamb gave you, and can you see him playing for minutes going forward?
SCOTT BROOKS:¬† I thought he gave good minutes.¬† He gave us good offensive minutes.¬† He has the ability to make a jump shot, and we like that and we need that.¬† But defensively it's still something he's going to have to continue to lock in on because he's guarding really good players that are experienced, and their offense, they make you play for 24 seconds.¬† But I thought he gave us good minutes.¬† Like I tell all the guys, you have to be ready.¬† You have to be ready to play.¬† It's a clich√©, but it actually happens.¬† It's something that he has to be ready, Perry has to be ready, Nick, Thabo, whoever we call on, they have to be ready to play high‑level minutes.

Q.  You made a lineup change again, second time this Playoffs you've done it, worked both times really well.  Why do you think it's been such a success every time you make a lineup change?
SCOTT BROOKS:¬† I'm not sure.¬† Just I know we have a good team that we have to be ready to play, have confidence in all the guys.¬† I have confidence in the different styles that we can play, big or small, so whoever we‑‑ you've got to play with five guys, and whoever we decide, I have confidence, the team has confidence.¬† I thought Reggie gave us another attacker that could attack their weak‑side defenders, but I thought it was important that we needed it, and he's really improved his three‑point shooting.¬† You have to guard him.¬† You have to guard him on the floor because they will pack the paint, they will make you play with the pass and they will make you throw to the weak side, and I thought Reggie's ability to attack their bigs, and we have to continue to do that and move their feet and attack them as much as we can, and we have three guys on the floor that can do that at the same time.

Q.  Was that a difficult decision for you both times you've done that because you're dealing with a starting lineup that's been so stable and so consistent.  Was that a fairly major decision in your mind?
SCOTT BROOKS:  Yeah, it's a major decision.  We've been successful.  I get knocked as a coach that we don't make changes.  We've won 60 games for a lot of years or in the high 50s, and our medical staff deserves a lot of credit because we don't have guys that get hurt.  We're no different than any other guys.  Like I've said many times, we play with bumps and bruises, we play with a common cold.  But we have guys that want to play.  I don't think that should be a knock on our guys.  They want to play.  They want to compete and they want to do it every night.  We talk about our job is to play 82 games, and our guys have pride in doing that.
That being said, we've won a lot of games doing that.  But there's times that we have to change in a series.  I think our guys have adjusted well the last two times we've done it.  We might have to do it again.

Q.  When you've made the decision twice, Memphis and then here, do you go tell Thabo individually, talk to him privately about it, or do you just make the change?
SCOTT BROOKS:  I don't want to get into what I do.  I talk to all of our guys.  I talk to all of our guys every day.  During the games I have communication with all of our guys.  Obviously you have to tell them.  How I tell them, that's between Thabo and I and the team.

Q.  It's strange, he hasn't played in any of the three games in which he didn't start, he didn't even get in the game.  What's the thinking there?
SCOTT BROOKS:  The flow of the game, the rhythm of the game.  I felt that we needed a certain style of player, and we had that.  Reggie did a good job of attacking and giving us an opportunity to have a different option on that weak side because we know how they like to load up on our strong side.  So I thought Reggie and the team adjusted well to that.

Q.  Even though Serge's time out was relatively short, did you learn anything about him, maybe about his dedication?  He just a few moments ago spoke about his faith and how that helped him push through.
SCOTT BROOKS:  Well, he's passionate.  He cares about the game.  He cares about his team.  Obviously the thing that I'm proud of, we put him out there because he was cleared to play.  Let's get that out there.  But that being said, he hasn't played in I don't know exactly how many days, 10, 12, 10 days or so.  As an athlete sometimes you have to put yourself out there knowing that you have a chance to not do well, and that's hard to do as an athlete because we are all prideful.  But he put himself out there knowing that he hasn't touched a basketball in a team setting, in a game setting, and who knows?  It was unknown for all of us, him, myself, the team.  But I'm proud of him that he put himself out there and he got rewarded for it, really going out there and doing what he does well.  To me that's what I'm proud of.  I'm proud that he stepped up to the plate and he was able to lay everything on the line for his team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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