BROOKS STANDS FIRM
Thunder coach Scott Brooks repeatedly has said he will not sit key players during the closing stretch of the season despite having secured homecourt for the opening round, and he proved it during Friday night's 104-89 victory at home over Denver.
Every OKC starter played at least 21 minutes, and the top 10 players saw at least 12 minutes of action. Brooks said his team will keep the same approach it has the entire season.
"Our guys would not want it any different," Brooks said. "If I cut their minutes or rest them, they will find places to play (around town). I'd rather have them do it in a controlled environment, with three good officials and under our watch.
"There are some pickup games I've heard are pretty good in the city, (at) some YMCA. Our guys will play. They're gym rats. They love to play. Our off-days are on-days. I don't know if we've ever had an off-day where 10 guys did not show up. To do weights, basketball work, (get) treatments on their bodies.
"They do not want to sit, and I don't want that. We're all programmed to be competitive every game. We can't pick and choose which games we're going to be competitive."
The Thunder remains one game behind Dallas for the No. 3 playoff seed in the Western Conference. The Mavericks won at home against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
OKC did pull within two games of the No. 2-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, who lost at Portland.
The Thunder plays at the Lakers on Sunday and is 0-3 inside Staples Center this season against the two LA teams.
The Thunder started the last two games shooting a combined 0 for 14 from the field – 0 for 8 against the Clippers on Wednesday night and 0 for 6 against Denver.