BROOKS BARELY MISSED 3-1 COMEBACK
With its 100-96 loss in Game 5 on Wednesday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder became the 201st team that failed to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. On Thursday night, Chicago could become the 202nd.
The 1994-95 Houston Rockets are one of only eight teams to successfully come back and win. Thunder coach Scott Brooks won the world championship playing for Houston the previous season and was a reserve guard with the comeback Rockets, but he was traded on the night of that season's trade deadline.
"And I'm still bitter," Brooks said of former Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich. "I talk to him now, though. Took me three years. I'm not joking, either. I had two great years in Dallas, until they dumped me. Mr. C (owner Donald J. Carter). I haven't talked to him yet, either."
The following season, Brooks' trade from Houston became known as the “Scott Brooks Rule,” which prevents a player from potentially being traded at halftime on deadline day. The league moved the trade deadline up six hours from 9 p.m. to 3 Eastern time.
Brooks was traded on Feb. 23, 1995. He was on the court during his team's halftime warm-up session when he learned he had been traded. Rockets general manager Bob Weinhauer waved Brooks over to inform him.
"Well, that's a great way to tell me," Brooks said at the time, or words to that effect.
'I DON'T KNOW'
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who rarely is chatty to begin with, gave short answers during his postgame interview session. He was polite but essentially speechless as he struggled to find words to explain what had just transpired.
In the end, what was the difference in the game? "I honestly don't know. I think we played hard and just couldn't come up with the win."
How would you describe the last 8-9 minutes of the game? "I don't know ..."
Can you pinpoint one or two things? "As I said, I don't know ..."
Why did you guys come up a little short? "I don't know ..."
What was the difference between the two teams? "We're not worried about Dallas. We've got a whole next year to come up to worry about other teams."
Soon, the interview was over. "Thank you, guys," Westbrook said as he walked away.
Observations from Game 5 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks inside American Airlines Center on Wednesday night.
*With 8:15 left in the second quarter, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was whistled for his third foul while guarding Dirk Nowitzki. Nick Collison also contested the shot. When the referee signal the foul was on No. 9, Ibaka pleaded, "No, no, no," while holding up four fingers, selling out his teammate Collison, who wears No. 4.
*Thunder starters shot a combined 20 for 56 from the field (. 357). Meanwhile, subs James Harden (7 for 11) and Collison (6 for 9) shot a combined 13 for 20 (. 650).
*Collison, who finished with 12 points and tied a career postseason high with 12 rebounds, secured his double-double with his 10th rebound and 10th point on a follow dunk with 3:06 still left in the third quarter.
*As he did at halftime in Game 2, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had a chat with an NBA front office official while exiting the midcourt tunnel. "Do you guys tell them (game officials) to let them play, or do they make the decision to let them play?" Cuban asked with the Mavs trailing 55-52 at intermission. "Either way, it's wrong, right?" At the time, Dallas had 10 fouls to OKC's nine. The Thunder was 10 for 13 from the free-throw line and the Mavs were 11 for 12.
*Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who played 25 total minutes in the Game 4 loss, played all but three seconds in the first quarter and 18 minutes in the first half, but just 10 after intermission when Brooks decided to go with a smaller lineup.
*With 4:30 left in the second quarter, Thunder forward Kevin Durant looked like eerily like Nowitzki while attempting a one-legged step-back jumper from 12 feet. It bounded off the front of the rim.
Brooks, during his pre-game interview session with reporters: "The spirit of this team is good. We're going to play as hard as we can tonight. There's never a doubt in my mind that's not going to happen. They're very competitive. I have a locker room full of gym rats who love to play. They challenge each other. They want to win every free-throw drill, every defensive drill. That's just how they approach the game."