Thunder-Clippers: Scott Brooks can't wait to make his next big move

COMMENTARY — Scott Brooks’ lineup changes for Games 6 & 7 of the Memphis series helped save the day. He’ll need something similar and soon after the Thunder looked unprepared in its opener against the Clippers.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 6, 2014

Your move, Scott Brooks.

During the first round of these NBA Playoffs, you changed your starting lineup, something that you never do. But it turned a key, unlocking your team and spurring it on to victory. It was spot on. It was much needed.

You’re going to need a similarly brilliant move this round.

But you can’t wait until Game 6 like last time; at this rate, there won’t be a Game 5. Your team looked totally unprepared in the series opener against the Clippers on Monday night.

Clippers 122, Thunder 105.

And it really wasn’t that close. Los Angeles led by as many as 29 points, and when you’re down that much, everyone has to shoulder some blame and do better next time. Superstars. Role players. Managers. Pom girls. But the leader of the band has to be you, Coach.

“It’s one game,” you said after the game. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t play well tonight, but it’s one game.”

You were addressing a question about your bench’s poor play when you said that, but that assessment holds for everything that happened Monday night. There were times when your squad looked like it had no idea that the Clippers like to shoot a lot of threes and throw a lot of ally-oop lobs.

It was unacceptable.

Before the game, you said that because your coaching staff had less than 48 hours before the series finale against Memphis and the series opener against Los Angeles, there were lots of cups of coffee involved in the preparation.

Well, you might need to call Starbucks and see if they can send over a tanker before Game 2.

Obviously, not even the best coach on the planet could have guessed that Chris Paul would have a night like he did. He hit the first eight threes that he attempted. No player has ever done that in the history of the NBA Playoffs.

He finished 8 of 9 from deep, scored a game-high 32 points and admitted after the game that it goes down as one of the greatest nights of his career. He even joked about his shooting prowess.

“Don’t count on it for Game 2, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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