Miami (58-15) and San Antonio (55-19) are the only NBA teams with a better record than the Thunder (54-20), and both the Heat and Spurs have begun resting their starters in preparation for the playoffs.
With that in mind, here are three questions with OKC coach Scott Brooks:
Q: Depending on the circumstances, do you envision sitting your players at any point the remainder of the regular season?
A: “We've never done that in the past. It's something I haven't thought much about. Even the last couple years, in the last game or two, our guys still played. That doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be 40 minutes for KD (Kevin Durant), or whoever we want to play. It's probably going to be a lot less. We haven't thought about that yet. Everything is so tight. Everybody is still trying to fight for playoff positioning. I always feel you play your games as best you can. You try to win every game.”
Why haven't you done it in the past? Is it your players' age, or is it your philosophy?
“I think it's a little bit of everything. There's no question we're always one of the youngest teams in the league. Every minute on the court is another minute we can get better as a group and individually. We have a lot of guys who still have to continue to improve, and they will improve. We have a future where we should get better every year. There are teams that definitely can use the rest that have been together for a long time, that rest is more important than playing a few minutes here and there. We'll see how the games play out. I always felt that at this point with our guys it's important to play.”
Russell Westbrook has a streak of 386 consecutive games played. What do you think his reaction would be if you asked him to sit out of a game?
“That'd be pretty good reality TV, huh? ‘The Sit.' As you know, as you're all well-aware, with a lot of our guys, when I sit them each half it's a ‘benching.' They love to play. They love the game. They love to compete. They love to be on the floor. It could be a game where we have a large lead, they want to play extra minutes. That's what I love about our competitive spirit. No, that's not going to be asked of Russell.”