“I think that’s a good percentage if I’m not mistaken. We took the shots that were open,” a defensive Durant said, referring to his 5-of-12 line, before admitting: “We settled for a few.”
But some of the late-game blame must also fall to Brooks. Since arriving in OKC, the Thunder has struggled down the stretch in tight games. With two superstars, OKC tends to allow them to force up contested jumpers following uncreative sets.
“I thought we might have taken a few too many 3s,” Brooks admitted. “It’s something we’ll look back at and see how many of them were good shots or contested shots.”
One time, with 20 seconds left in overtime and trailing by two, it looked as if Brooks drew up a solid play. Following some misdirection action, Durant was able to hit Serge Ibaka cutting to the rim for what looked like an open lane.
But Ibaka shuffled his feet following the catch and got called for a travel that essentially sealed the Thunder’s fate.
“Serge has been great finishing around the basket,” Brooks said. “I’m happy with the catch, but I’m not thrilled with the result. That’s part of the game. You’ve got to live with it.”
Maybe it was a step forward – a solid design for what should have been a good shot. Or maybe it was the exact reason OKC tends to let Westbrook and Durant freelance.
Whatever the issue, OKC better figure it out soon. Because late-game opportunities are what’s likely to define this suddenly toss-up series.