Brooks stopped short of echoing coaches throughout the NBA and other sports leagues who insist winning is more of a relief than a joy. The only times Brooks hasn't felt good about a game is when his team's effort wasn't there.
“When we don't play at a level that we can compete and win, that's not good,” Brooks said. “But very rarely do we have that. You're not going to win every game, but you want to get your team a chance to win.”
Win No. 20 exemplified how the Thunder has toed that line, while also displaying how good Oklahoma City has been and how much work still is left to be done.
Against the Warriors, the Thunder got away with starting lethargic, playing stretches of poor defense, succumbing to a shootout and giving up an opponent season-high 48 points to Golden State guard Monta Ellis.
But, yet again, the Thunder tightened up down the stretch, holding the Warriors to 7-for-18 shooting in the fourth period while forcing six turnovers. The Thunder also played soundly on offense when it mattered most, making 10 of 21 shots in the fourth quarter, including a perfectly executed inbounds play in which Kevin Durant banked in the go-ahead bucket with 14 seconds remaining.
“We want to strive toward perfection,” said Kevin Durant. “We want to be one of those teams that are looked at as a really good team, and (against Golden State) we kind of had too many lapses. As a leader, I'm a little upset at myself for letting that happen.
“Of course we're happy about the win. But the stuff that went on in the game, we have to correct it and try to get better. We don't want to have games like that every game. We've got to get back to the drawing board.”
It's much more comfortable sitting down and starting at the canvas when you're off to a sizzling start.
Thunder at Kings
When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento, Calif.
TV: TNT (Cox 31, HD Ch. 730)
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM
Three things to know
* While Sacramento and OKC rank No. 6 and No. 7 in overall rebounding, respectively, they rank 29th and 27th in opponent offensive rebounds allowed.
* These are the NBA's two worst teams in terms of protecting the ball. The Kings rank last in assist/turnover ratio at 1.03 and the Thunder is 29th at 1.10.
* Prior to Tuesday's narrow loss at Minnesota, the Kings had won three straight with wins over Portland and Golden State, the last two teams OKC has beaten.