Brooks is faced with the challenge of acknowledging his team has the league's best record at 15-3 while constantly reminding his team it has yet to reach its full potential. Past heartache, particularly late in games, frequently has been a learning tool.
"There's no question that experience always helps," Brooks said. "We've been through some good battles and we've taken our lumps through the last three years. We haven't arrived. We haven't got to point where we need to get to, but we feel we're a good team. We know that we're a good team, but we also know if you think that you're 'there,' you're going to get bit and when it does happen, it hurts."
The Thunder's nine-game gauntlet commences Friday night in Oracle Arena against Golden State, then it's at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, at Dallas on Wednesday, at home against Memphis next Friday, at San Antonio on Feb. 4, at Portland on Feb. 6, back at Golden State on Feb. 7, at Sacramento on Feb. 9 and at Utah on Feb. 10.
Brooks, on his team's upcoming challenge: "It's not easy to win on the road. You go into some hostile environments and we definitely have our hands full the next two weeks … very tough cities to play in. Our guys love challenges. They embrace it. They don't shy away from it. We don't have a cockiness to us, we just have a belief."