Thunder: Scotty Brooks breaks down the Finals
Thunder coach Scotty Brooks was a guest Friday on the Dan Patrick Show, which was hosted Friday by Chris Minnix, NBA writer for Sports Illustrated. You can listen here: http://www.danpatrick.com/ Here’s what Brooks had to say:
Can you watch the Finals without sort of a little pain? “No. You’re watching ‘em with a pain in the pit of your stomach. But you’re watching it with amazement. Both teams are playing really hard. It’s hard to score. Last night was the first game seemed like anybody was able to score. Got off to a scoring game.”
Why did Miami lose Game 5? “J.J. (Barea). J.J. finally got his game going. Against us (in the Western Conference Finals), he had two or three of those games. Last night, he was the difference. Dirk’s going to get his points. The guy’s an amazing player. Jason Terry, he’s going to come around. Which he did the last two games. J.J., he changed the game around, the way he scores, the way he penetrates, kicks out to shooters.”
Would you be concerned about LeBron James if you were coaching him?“I would definitely want him to get more opportunities in the fourth quarter. But you have to give Dallas a lot of credit. They’re taking the ball out of his hands. LeBron, he’s not a scorer naturally. He wants to make plays for his teammates. You gotta admire the guy. He’s not a selfish player. He’s making plays, what the defense is allowing him to make. But you gotta try to get him more opportunities in transition. The guy’s a playmaker. I think he’s done a great job. The game before that, he struggled. But last night, a triple double in an NBA Finals game, that’s pretty good.”
How do you explain LeBron’s fourth quarter?“There’s no doubt great players have to play big in big moments. And he has all season long. But they have three great players. It’s hard to have all three step up at the same time. You have to balance that. They’ve done a great job all year and done a great job to get to this point. Dwyane Wade is an amazing player. He wants to make the play himself. He has to have the ball in his hands. Coach Spoel (Erik Spoelstra) is going to figure it out. He’s done it all year. You’d like to see LeBron get better opportunities to score down the stretch. But he’s a playmaker. The guy makes plays for his team. I appreciate that.”
What was the Thunder gameplan against LeBron?“Just try not to turn the ball over. Once you turn the ball over against Miami, they are so quick to change it it into points. They get it out on the wings, they pitch ahead. Once they get a head of steam, you’re not going to stop ‘em. We wanted to make sure we did not turn the ball over. Then, do not allow him layups. When he gets layups, all of a sudden , the outside shots become easier for him. Just try to make him see a bunch of bodies. Try not to let him get scoring opportunities in the paint. Make him shoot jumpshots. If he makes jumpshots, then you’re not going to be able to stop him. The guy is strong as an ox. He’s as fast as anybody in the league. He has a good handle. He sees the court very well. When he makes shots, good luck.”
Would you talk with LeBron if you were coaching him at this point? “With Kevin (Durant), I’m fortunate enough to coach one of the best players in the league. When he has struggling moments, you pick and choose your spots. When you have good teammates, they’re always going to try to pump him up. ‘Hang in there, come on, let’s go.’ Coach Erik is probably picking those spots. I thought last night, he played good. He just didn’t do much at the end of the game, but they double-teamed him, took the ball out of his hands. When you get double-teamed, the game tells you there’s a teammate’s open. He did a great job of finding teammates. Now their job is to make shots.”
It seems like Rick Carlisle is coaching very well in this series?“Rick is an excellent coach. He’s done a great job making adjustments. Against us, he was really good. But he’s been good for a long time. That zone, zone does bother teams. He throws it in in really good opportunities for their team to really change the tempo of the game. They’re a good team. They don’t get a lot of respect all season long, but we knew playing them, that they were good. They always gave us problems. Conference final, same things. Tyson Chandler is a difference-maker for that team. Brings energy, brings toughness. He brings ability to protect the basket. You always have that big 7-footer backing you up in case you do get beat. They’ve done a good job implenmenting those opportunities. If you play zone consistently, it loses its effectiveness. What Rick does, he throws it in there, two or three minutes at a time, so your team is not really in an offensive zone flow. You’re running a man-t0-man set. Like I told our guys, the way to beat a zone is beat it up the court. First part of beating the zone, you gotta get a defensive stop. If you get a defensive stop, they don’t have time to get back into their zone, especially against our team, because we want to get up and down the court. But their zone is good. They’re active. They’ve got length. Shawn Marion, he’s a glue guy. Seems like when he’s in the game, they prevent teams from going on the run. He’s an amazing all-ar0und player. I’m glad he’s having success. Seems like a great guy.”
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