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Oklahoma City Thunder: With the game on the line, Scott Brooks let his team play

There was no timeout. No letting the Grizzlies set up their ferocious defense. No risking anything that would take the ball out of Kevin Durant's hands.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 5, 2013

/articleid/3806805/1/pictures/2045175">Photo - Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks celebrates the Thunder's go-ahead score during Game 1 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 5, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks celebrates the Thunder's go-ahead score during Game 1 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 5, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Conley said the Grizzlies would have preferred to set up their defense, but “when you've got KD, I don't think it really matters. In any situation, he is going to be tough to guard. But obviously, it is tough to guard a guy when you've got a team backing up and you are trying to set up a defense. Either way, we were going to have our hands full.”

Durant missed five of his first six shots and midway through the third quarter had made just six of 15 shots. But in the final 15 1/2 minutes of the game, Durant made seven of 11 shots and scored 17 points. He also had three assists in the fourth quarter.

“Kevin has a high basketball IQ,” Brooks said. “When he handles the ball, he can make good decisions.”

During a timeout with 31.2 seconds left, Brooks told his team that if it got a stop against the Grizzlies, and the ball was in Durant's hands or Derek Fisher's hands, no timeout. Push it. Attack the Grizzlies, who if you let them will attack you with their defense.

Sure enough, the ball ended up in Durant's hands. Fisher poked the ball straight to Durant. He doesn't always shoot in those situations. Houston Game 2, Durant passed off twice in the last 65 seconds, leading to clutch baskets. But Durant, at age 24, has delivered enough clutch baskets in huge games for everyone in Boomtown to come to expect them.

“I knew that was a bucket,” Perkins said. “I ain't trying to be arrogant, seriously. I just knew that shot was going in.”

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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