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NBA Finals: Thunder's Scott Brooks sticks with same lineup in Game 3

Scott Brooks sticks with the same lineup. “It hasn't even crossed my mind to change the starting lineup,” the Thunder coach said.
By John Rohde Published: June 18, 2012

BROOKS STICKS WITH SAME LINEUP

An extra day of preparation for Game 3 gave media an extra day to try and read the psyche of Thunder coach Scott Brooks after a 100-96 loss in Game 2, including whether he should make changes to his starting lineup that had gone 13-4 in the playoffs heading into Game 3 on Sunday night at American Airlines Arena.

“It hasn't even crossed my mind to change the starting lineup,” Brooks said during his pre-game interview session.

The subject also was addressed after OKC's morning shootaround Sunday.

“There's always a chemistry thing that's important,” Brooks said. “You just can't say, ‘Just throw guys out on the floor and hope that it works.' It's important to have a good start and a good finish.

“Every fight is important. You can't just say we're going to knock the guy out in the final round, you have to punch him in the first round just as many times in the last round. We have to fight every possession and every round and that's what we have to do. I've never considered changing the starting lineup, we're pretty good.”

Brooks stuck with his usually starting lineup in a 91-85 loss in Game 3. The Thunder was outscored in the first quarter for the third straight game, this time 26-20.

TURNING UP BIG

The Heat might be “small,” but it's getting far too close to the basket. The Finals have become a layup drill for Miami, which scored 14 of its first 15 field goals in Game 3 from inside the paint.

In the first half, Miami scored 30 points in the paint and converted 15 of 28 (. 536) shots inside the paint, but was just 3 for 16 (. 188) outside it. OKC tightened up on defense and the Heat wound up with a 46-42 advantage in the paint.

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