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OKC Thunder: Bench contributed to Game 2 victory

Battle of the reserves will be important as NBA playoff series shifts to Dallas for Games 3 and 4.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 1, 2012

OKC's reserves ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run to turn a 24-23 deficit into a 32-24 lead. Fisher's first big shot of the playoffs as a member of the Thunder came on a buzzer-beating jumper from the left corner. It came courtesy of a pass from Cook, one of four assists by three different players the bench used to make the run.

“It's always about spacing and ball movement and being able to step up and hit the shots,” Brooks said. “But we look at our bench as a unit that defends hard and gets a lot of good possessions on the defensive end for us.”

Fisher scored the Thunder's first six points of the second period on a series of jump shots to key a run that eventually ballooned to 19-3. It gave the Thunder a 16-point lead, its largest of the game.

“The energy was good, but we made shots,” Brooks said. “The ball was moving and that first half was really good basketball offensively. … We had 10 assists and they made shots. That's the bottom line.”

Brooks said the difference in Game 1 was his players missed some open shots, which actually happened late in the second quarter Monday and allowed Dallas to pull within three just 3 minutes, 43 seconds after trailing by 16.

“We missed like four wide open 3s that, if we can get those same shots, we're going to probably make two of those,” Brooks said.

But, strategically, the Thunder's bench also was smarter Monday.

“I thought we did a better job of attacking their zone,” Brooks said, “and allowing what I like to call rhythm shots that are basically just an extra pass shot. It's wide open instead of taking a shot with somebody running out at you.”

There was no better illustration of that than Fisher's biggest shot of the night — a corner 3-pointer off a feed from Harden, who made the extra pass after Durant kicked it out of a post-up on the opposite block. It gave the Thunder a 92-88 lead with 5:26 left to play.

And the high-arcing, left-handed stroke that swished through the net looked the same as so many of Fisher's other playoff buckets that we've seen replayed over and over throughout the years.

“He gives everything he has to the team,” Brooks said, “and you can't replace those types of players.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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