Thunder reserve guard Reggie Jackson visited Norman “Michael” Richards III, who was shot in Bricktown after Oklahoma City's series-clinching win over the Lakers, in the hospital Friday.
“It's a sad incident,” Jackson said. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn't seem like he or his family are bitter about it. It was good to sit down and talk with him and hopefully brighten up his day.”
Jackson said he felt compelled to visit because the shooting happened “on our grounds.”
“The shooting, for everybody, ruined the whole glee of winning,” Jackson said. “He's a die-hard Thunder fan and he was out here supporting us, and a tragedy happened. I felt like I had to check up on him and see how he was doing.
“He has great support (from family and friends), but I wanted him to know he has the support of this team, also. We'll stick with him. He's an inspiration to the team.”
THROWING AGE OUT THE WINDOW
Kevin Durant is a little more than a year older than LeBron James was when the former Cleveland Cavs star made his first NBA Finals appearance.
James struggled in the 2007 Finals against San Antonio for Cleveland, shooting just 36 percent (32 of 90) from the floor in the Spurs' sweep.
Durant isn't worried about the Thunder being the youngsters on the court against the more-seasoned Heat.
“My mom always told me when I was going against older guys, don't let your age be the reason you don't succeed,” Durant said. “I just want to take advantage of it.
“We were too young to beat the Spurs, a great team, and we came out and accomplished that. We were too young to beat the Lakers, and we accomplished that as well. We just keep thinking that we can do it and also knowing that it's going to be a tough road and we've got to be focused.”
Oklahoma City has embraced and enjoyed all that Derek Fisher has to offer, since his midseason arrival.
But what's next for the 37-year-old guard, who approaches free agency when The Finals are complete?
“I've always tried my best, as I approach free agent summers, to not think that much about it until I'm there,” Fisher said. “And especially at this time in a season, where so much is at stake right now. So I couldn't accurately or truthfully answer that question, because I don't know where I'll be emotionally or psychologically after this season is over.”
Fisher, however, knows that he plans to still be playing in 2012-13.
“There are two distinct places to be after you've been in a Finals, from a mental standpoint,” Fisher said. “My plan is for sure to play next season. I'm not going to retire after this year. I feel great physically and definitely will look forward to playing basketball after these next two weeks.”
PERKINS LOOKS FOR HALF-COURT SERIES
For all the talk about the athleticism of the two teams, especially with the young Thunder, OKC center Kendrick Perkins suggested Monday the Thunder might want to keep the tempo dialed back a bit against a Heat team that can get up and down the floor as well.
“I don't think we're trying to make it an athletic finals,” Perkins said. “I think we're trying to make it a half-court, physical series so obviously there might be some exciting dunks or exciting plays that's happening but at the end of the day, we're trying to make it a half-court series.”
BROOKS HAS WESTBROOK'S BACK
Thunder coach Scott Brooks stood up for Russell Westbrook on Monday, after being asked about Westbrook's struggles against the Heat the last two seasons.
Westbrook has averaged 20 points but has shot just 31 percent (25 of 80) from the floor against the Heat in four meetings between the teams in the last two seasons. He's totaled 23 assists and 15 rebounds in those games with the teams splitting the meetings.
“I look at things differently than numbers,” Brooks said after being asked about Westbrook's struggled against Miami. “We split the series this year 1-1. I thought Russell did a good job of controlling the tempo here, and we were in position to win there.”
HASLEM RESPECTS LONG
After Miami's Udonis Haslem finished at the podium on the Chesapeake Energy Arena floor Monday, Thunder color analyst Grant Long came by for a quick handshake, hugs and an exchange.
Haslem knows Long's history with the Heat. Long was a second-round draft pick for Miami in 1988, the Heat's first year in the league.
Long played for Miami for the first six-plus years of his 15-year career.
“I tell him I always remember what he did and who he played for, not thinking about what he does now,” Haslem said. “I'm a huge fan of what he's done for the Miami Heat and him laying the groundwork and foundation for guys like myself.
“Regardless of what he's doing now, I'm always going to be a fan and have the utmost respect for him.”
“It is a little different. I was on a team that was considered the bad guy. So this is kind of different. I'm trying to adjust to it a little bit. I actually like being the bad guy. Being the good guy is kind of strange.” — Perkins on being on a likable team.
Despite media occupying roughly 250 seats in Loud City, the official capacity at Chesapeake Energy Arena will remain 18,203 for the Finals, according to Thunder officials. ... Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez made a bet on the series. If the Thunder win, Gimenez will send Cornett stone crabs. If the Heat win, Cornett will ship some steaks to Gimenez. ... Miami will host a “White Hot Road Rally” at American Airlines Arena for the two games in Oklahoma City, charging fans $2 for admission. There are no plans for a similar viewing party for the Thunder when the team plays in Miami. The team encourages fans to host their own watch parties.