“I don't focus on what people say,” Brooks said. “I know what I have to do. My job is to coach our guys. My job is not to coach our guys through the media. Everybody has an opinion. I respect the media members and I respect the guys that played the game that are talking about our team. And I respect the guys that don't play the game that talk about our team. They have a job to do.
“But my job is to coach the team and lead our guys to the best of my abilities. I'm not concerned whether they say I'm a good coach or a bad coach. I know I have a job to do and our players seem to respond and seem to get better.”
Now flashback to the trophy presentation.
Front and center when Brooks was summoned by Johnson stood Russell Westbrook. Immediately, the All-Star point guard unleashed two roars as Brooks sauntered over. Westbrook ignited the ovation, clapping his hands and stepping forward to pump his arms in the air so the crowd could give it up to his coach. Serge Ibaka stood in the background doing the same. Soon, 18,203 followed.
It illustrated how the players really feel about Brooks, which is really all that matters. They've seen his growth and they know his worth to the team.
“I just think coach does a good job of sticking to what he believes in,” said center Kendrick Perkins, “and also we do a good job as players of backing him up and supporting him. We never put the pressure on coach to do anything because we're all learning together.”
And together, Brooks and his guys are now four wins away from the one thing that can silence all the critics.
“As a coach, you have a lot of pressure on you,” Brooks said. “It's so many different dimensions that are coming at you that you have to be able to respond to. But I have a good position that I'm in. I have a group of guys that I love to lead. It's a great job.”