Staying with Kevin Durant and the B team produces a landmark OKC victory and Scott Brooks' finest coaching hour

Coach Scott Brooks helped Oklahoma City even the series at 1-1 by proving he believes “in all our guys,” and leaving Russell Westbrook on the bench in the fourth quarter of the Thunder's Game 2 victory
by Berry Tramel Published: May 20, 2011

Durant missed four of his six shots in the fourth quarter, but Harden was 4-of-5, Maynor 2-of-3 and Cook 2-of-2.

“We had a good rhythm going,” said Cook. “Once we got the lead up, coach felt a lot more confident. Just goes to the type of confidence he has in us. Usually, coach goes with who is playing well.”

The belief came at a price. More Westbrook soap opera. I guess he's going to be a lightning rod no matter the plot.

Westbrook threw a mini-tantrum when exiting late in the third quarter and had to be calmed down by assistants and teammates. But by game's end, Westbrook seemed fine, even danced in the tunnel leaving the court.

Either way, the fourth quarter of Game 2 of a conference finals is no place for worrying about feelings. Maynor was playing a mean quarterback down the stretch. No reason to pull the hot hand.

“Everybody on the team's comfortable with Eric on the floor,” said Collison. “We had it going pretty good. I don't think (Brooks) wanted to mess with it.”

Five times early in the quarter, the Mavs cut their deficit to one. Four of the five times, the Thunder answered with baskets — by Cook, Durant, Harden and Maynor.

The lone time the Thunder failed to score down one, it repelled Dallas when Nowitzki missed a paint jumper — contested by Cook, of all people.

An amazing performance by role players. An amazing performance by the likes of Maynor and Cook, whose usual job is to hold the fort for a few minutes, then call in the cavalry.

The cavalry never came, because it wasn't summoned. And now we've got a series.

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 AM-640 and 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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