Scott Brooks stood in front of a television camera and multiple microphones Wednesday and tried his best to stick to the script.
“We're a defensive team,” the Thunder coach said. “We pride ourselves at that end of the floor.”
The problem was that Brooks had just watched his team blow a 14-point lead in the final eight minutes at Houston, the Rockets racing to 29 points over that span, while one defender after another whiffed on the assignment of stopping former Thunder guard James Harden, who went on to score a career-high 46 points.
A day later, the Thunder added another threat that might possibly come in handy.
Just minutes before Thursday's 2 p.m. trading deadline, the Thunder acquired Ronnie Brewer from New York in exchange for a second-round draft pick. In a separate deal, the Thunder sent Eric Maynor to Portland for a trade exception and the rights to Greek forward Georgios Printezis, a 2007 second-round selection who has yet to play in the NBA.
Brewer, 27, joins the Thunder after previous stops in Chicago, Memphis and Utah. Now in his seventh season out of Arkansas, the 6-foot-7 guard/forward is expected to bring experience and an added defensive presence to the Thunder. Brewer, who was the 14th overall pick by the Jazz in 2006, holds career averages of 8.4 points, three rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals. He's played in 464 career games, starting 301 of them.
“The opportunity to add a player like Ronnie without dipping into our immediate playing rotation was something we feel like we needed to pursue,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. “He brings a defensive mind-set, versatility as a perimeter defender and he comes in with over 300 games started.
“More impressive to us is the fact that he's played for some organizations that we really have a lot of respect for. In addition to that, he's a high-character, hard-working individual that we feel like is going to fit well with our current group.”
Brewer likely will come off the bench behind and help solidify a second string that has struggled with consistency throughout the season. He would join Kevin Martin and Nick Collison as the team's most experienced reserves.
But the most significant aspect of Brewer's acquisition is that his skills and infectious energy on defense could help shore up the slippage that's been seen on that end in recent weeks.
Oklahoma City has allowed 105.1 points on 45.4 percent shooting in its past 10 road games. The next three away from Chesapeake Energy Arena will come against offensive juggernauts like Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers and Knicks.
Down the line, Brewer also gives the Thunder another option to defend LeBron James if the Thunder and Heat meet again in a Finals rematch.
Presti, however, said the move wasn't made with the team's recent struggles or the possibility of again meeting Miami in mind.
“We've consistently said that we feel like in order to be a consistent team and a team that plays at the highest end of the spectrum we've got to be an elite defensive team,” Presti said. “So we're always looking for opportunities to add versatile defenders.
“We want to continue to build a very versatile team so that Scott and the coaching staff has options throughout the course of a season, game or series.”
Brewer is not expected to play Friday against Minnesota. It's possible that he makes his Thunder debut Sunday against Chicago.