The All-Star break won't provide Thunder coach Scott Brooks much of a break.
Immediately after the Thunder's Thursday night game in Los Angeles, Brooks boarded a plane for New Orleans, set to coach his second All-Star game in three seasons.
But at least this time around, with some experience, Brooks will allow himself to enjoy the weekend, instead of stressing about the small details.
“There's no question last time, a couple years ago, I didn't rest,” Brooks said. “I was worried about practice and pregame and timeout huddles and halftime speeches. That's not happening this year.”
Within the weekend, though, will Brooks use the time to scout his Western Conference competition?
“Without giving away my secrets, I'm not just going down there to substitute players in and out,” Brooks said. “I want to get to know the players, I want to know what makes them tick and how they operate and how they prepare.”
DURANT SAYS BROOKS SHOULD BE COACH OF THE YEAR
In a recent interview with NBA.com, Kevin Durant stuck up for his coach, deflecting any criticism aimed at Brooks.
“How can you knock a guy who I think should be Coach of the Year this year?” Durant told the website. “With us losing Russ (Westbrook) for so long and us staying on top of the best conference in the league, winning games against big teams on the road and he's putting us in position every single game to be successful; who's won 50 games, 55 games, 60 games, 47 games in the lockout (season), and we're on pace for 60 now? I mean, what can you say?”
MIKE D'ANTONI CALLS DURANT UNGUARDABLE
Through his experiences with USA Basketball, Mike D'Antoni has received an up-close view of the progression of Durant.
And in seeing the best players in the world try to contain the Thunder's superstar, D'Antoni is convinced Durant can't be stopped.
“Nobody. I don't think anyone can,” D'Antoni said. “Because he plays within the game, he doesn't force anything. And the ball will eventually get to him. And at 6-11, leans back when he shoots. If he plays bad and has a bad game, it's because he played bad and had a bad game. It's not, ‘Oh, this guy shut him down.'”
LEBRON ON KD AGAIN
Another day, another quote from LeBron James on Durant.
This time, in an interview with Bleacher Report, James said he doesn't believe the pressure for Durant to win a title will hit “until I retire.”
“But I don't know when he's gonna start hearing it,” James told the website. “I hope he doesn't. I don't think he should have to go through that. What he's been able to do for that city of Oklahoma City, what he's been able to do for his teammates is amazing. And we'll just see what happens with it.”
Durant is 25. James won his first title at 28.
WESTBROOK PARTNERS WITH SUBWAY
Russell Westbrook is the newest pitchman for Subway.
The Thunder's injured All-Star guard spent part of his Thursday in Los Angeles, at a local Subway, making sandwiches to kick-start the partnership.
“Excited 2 be a part of the @Subway Famous Fan Family,” Westbrook tweeted.
The Thunder will begin the second half of the season next Thursday at home against Miami, an intriguing start to a six-game homestand that also includes the red-hot Clippers.