Thunder coach Scott Brooks was complimentary of newly named Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni when asked before the game about his thoughts on what is currently the hottest topic in the league.
“Coach D'Antoni is a great coach,” Brooks said. “He's had nothing but success in his career, Phoenix and New York. I'm sure he's going to do well. He has a lot of talent to work with; some of the best players in basketball and he has a great coaching style. He's going to have a lot of success.”
In the next breath, Brooks said D'Antoni's hire is of no concern to the Thunder and its quest to return to the NBA Finals.
“That doesn't change how we look at things at all,” Brooks said. “We focus on our team, our growth, our development, how we play. It has no bearing on us moving forward. We know that the Lakers are one of the best teams in basketball. That doesn't change. We still focus on how we play and approach every game the same.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WESTBROOK
Russell Westbrook celebrated his 24th birthday Monday.
As somewhat of a forced gift, a handful of Thunder players — and one unlucky coach — had to serenade Westbrook with “Happy Birthday.”
Rookie forward Perry Jones III and fellow rookie Jeremy Lamb, as well as assistant coach Maz Trakh, showered Westbrook with the song.
How did Trakh get dragged into duty with the rookies?
“Coach said whoever has the ugliest haircut has to be in it, and everybody chose Coach Maz,” Jones said. “Maz was trying to sing kind of fast. We had to kind of slow him down. We had to go at our pace. But it was terrible as usual.”
Miami forward LeBron James and Denver forward Kenneth Faried won Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week honors. Thunder forwards Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka were the only other Western Conference nominees for last week. … After a two-game absence due to a sprained left ankle, center Hasheem Thabeet rejoined the lineup Monday against Detroit. … Lamb started the second quarter but went scoreless with two fouls and a turnover in three minutes.