James Harden wasn't too down on his game after going just 2 of 6 from the field for five points in the Thunder's Game 1 win over the Heat.
“Individually, I think I did a pretty good job,” Harden said. “Obviously I didn't score the ball well but just defensively and doing other things to help the team win. W's (wins) are all that matter right now. It's not about individual performances.”
However, Harden said he'd need to contribute more offensively as the series progressed and adjust his approach.
“I need to be more aggressive, watch film and learn what they did on the defensive end and just attack more,” Harden said. “Be more aggressive, not just with myself but collapsing the defense in and opening up plays for my teammates is something I'm very good at. I've just got to drive the lanes and find my shooters and find my bigs for easy dunks.”
HARDEN, OTHERS DEFEND CROWD
After Miami's Chris Bosh called the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena “regular” after Tuesday's Game 1, Thunder players were regularly asked about it Wednesday.
ABC analyst and hall of famer Magic Johnson called the crowd the loudest he'd ever experienced.
“What do you all think?” Harden asked the media horde. “As loud as I've ever experienced. I'm sure Chris Bosh, it's as loud as he's experienced as well. They're pretty loud in here. It gets very loud. It's the loudest arena I've been in since I've been in the NBA.
“Magic is right.”
Derek Fisher took another route, saying the reason Bosh felt that way is because the crowd in Oklahoma City is always loud when Bosh and the Heat are in town regardless of whether the game is in the NBA Finals or not.
RIVERS, BROOKS MUCH DIFFERENT FOR PERKINS
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was asked on Wednesday to compare and contrast the personalities and coaching styles of Boston's Doc Rivers, whom Perkins won an NBA championship with in 2008, and OKC head man Scott Brooks.
Perkins pointed out Brooks' desire to keep learning and overall humbleness as the coach's unique qualities.
That even trickles down to Brooks' ride.
“He drives a (Toyota) Corolla,” Perkins said. “I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but what NBA coach that you know (would) do that? Seriously. He's so down to Earth, it's crazy.
“I think that's just the main thing that sticks out about him, he's wanting to learn and just staying down to Earth and just trying to get better.'
So, is this a tricked-out Corolla, or the base model?
“I think it's the base model,” Perkins said. “I'm serious, man. I seen him pull up in it one day, and I was like ‘That's Coach Brooks.'”
For the record, the Corolla is gray.
BATTIER: OKC STAYS CLASSY
Heat forward Shane Battier was asked Wednesday about the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd, and he said it was a much nicer one than he encountered in Boston during the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I had a few ‘expletive deleted' comments thrown my way (in Boston),” Battier said. “I have yet to hear that here in Oklahoma. The good people of Oklahoma stay classy.”
PERKINS: GAME 2 ‘MOST IMPORTANT GAME'
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins stressed Wednesday the importance of Thursday's Game 2, given the fact that OKC follows it up with potentially three straight games in Miami.
“(Game 1) was a game that both teams was feeling out each other,” Perkins said. “Game 1 is really out the way. I feel like you have to move on to Game 2. It's the most important game before we go on the road for three games. We just have got to make sure we do a great job of staying focused.”
CHALK MURAL ADDS A THUNDER TWIST
Bobby Marsee has plenty of experience recreating famous works of art in chalk.
That's what Molly O'Connor had in mind when the director of cultural development at the Oklahoma Arts Council asked Marsee to contribute a chalk drawing to Live on the Plaza last Friday.
On the sidewalk outside of the Lyric Theatre late Friday afternoon, Marsee began his take on Sandro Botticelli's 1486 epic “The Birth of Venus” — but with a twist.
He adorned Venus in a No. 35 Kevin Durant jersey.
“Everybody, including myself, has Thunder mania right now,” said Marsee, a 44-year-old who operates his own custom framing shop in Weatherford. “I wanted to combine my two passions and I thought that would bridge the gap.”
O'Connor didn't ask for the Thunder-themed mural but was thrilled at the final result.
“He combined a well-known masterpiece by Botticelli and put an Oklahoman spin on it,” O'Connor said. “Artists have an incredible gift of improving the community and the quality of life, and I think Bobby did a great job of that with his painting.”
WESTBROOK'S CLOTHING IN THE SPOTLIGHT AGAIN
Once again, Russell Westbrook's wardrobe was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday, a night after he brought back the bright red glasses.
Westbrook was asked where he shopped for his clothes.
“I can't really tell you, but I buy them a lot of different places,” Westbrook said. “All three different places. Barneys, Saks Fifth, everywhere.”
Serge Ibaka, a more conventional dresser, said he didn't mind Westbrook's clothing choices.
“That's his style. If he likes his style, It doesn't matter what people say,” Ibaka said. “If he thinks he looks good, he looks good.”
“He is Dwyane Wade, right? He can still score the ball. He's still quick, explosive, can shoot the midrange. He still can get it done. We can't take that for granted.” — James Harden, after being asked if “Dwyane Wade was still Dwyane Wade.”
JACKSON VS. BROOKS
Thunder reserve guard Derek Fisher won his five world championships under Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Now Fisher is trying to win a sixth ring with a coach for whom he has played all of 36 games in the Thunder’s Scott Brooks. The primary differences between Jackson and Brooks?
“It’s been great because it continues to add to the understanding that there are different approaches to being successful,” Fisher said. “We can all learn from everybody. Phil is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in sports history and one of the greatest NBA coaches ever. Scotty’s still early in his coaching career and possibly could be on his way to being considered one of the best coaches. His (Brooks’) approach is different, but I’ve learned a lot in the few months of been here and how to manage people and manage players. It’s just great to see.
“I know it can be challenging, but I’m sure it’s very difficult to find the balance between trying to coach and get your team to do the things you know it should be doing while understanding who they are, where they are in their development, what they can and can’t handle. He (Brooks) has an unbelievable ability to feel that and have a sense for where these guys are. Maybe the advantage for him is when these players were drafted, he was right there from Day 1. So he’s been with these guys for four years so I think he knows who they are and they know he is and it’s a great combination.”
Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison was asked by international media about 22-year-old teammate Serge Ibaka, who was born in the Republic of Congo. “Serge has been great and he has really grown up a lot in a short time,” Collison said. “He’s always been very talented. A lot of the more subtle things in the game he’s really picking up. He’s such a force for us - defensively and offensively. He’s skilled.
“At first, he barely spoke English. And now, he won’t be quiet. He talks all the time. He’s very funny and we all get along really well. He’s a joy to have around.”
The Thunder is 13-3 so far in the playoffs, but veteran center Kendrick Perkins said he first felt something different with his teammates the final night of the NBA’s regular season when the team gathered for a watch party at Nazr Mohammed’s house to watch the Dallas at Atlanta game that determined who OKC’s first-round opponent would be.“You could tell after the game was over with how everyone was locked instantly,” Perkins said. “You could just see it, feel it.”