Scott Brooks Interview: Excited, Ready for the Opportunity

Jun 11, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks answers questions in a press conference on practice day prior to taking on the Miami Heat in game 1 of the 2012 NBA finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Thunder coach Scott Brooks joined Dan Patrick's radio show (with SI's Chris Mannix filling in) to talk about his expectations for these 2012 Finals.

I've clipped a few of Brooks' answers here; be sure to follow the link to read them in full.

How his team feels heading into game one of the Finals:

"Feeling pretty good. I thought we've had a couple of great days of practice. Our guys are excited, it's a great opportunity. Like I tell them and they tell me they're not just happy to be here."

Whether Kevin Durant will start off guarding LeBron:

"Yes I think so. We have multiple guys that we will be able to put on him. LeBron's a terrific player, he's one of the best in the world but we're going to do our job to keep him away from the basket and hopefully Kevin does a good job defensively on him."

If guarding LeBron is about picking your poison with his jumper versus his drives to the basket:

"Yeah Chris you have to. You have to pick your poison. He's obviously one of the best players in the world for a reason. He can take it to the basket, he gets to the free throw line, just in the last game he had 17 free throws, and we want to defend him. We don't want to defend and foul and put him on the line. We want to contest his jumpers and if he hits that you have to live with that."

If a win in the Finals would lead to less criticism for Russell Westbrook:

"Probably not. I think people like to do that but I tell him, ‘Russell I don't care what people say about you' and actually I don't think he cares much either."

How important it is for the Thunder to win their individual matchups in this series:

"We've always talked about this is what we have to do as the Thunder and if we do this and we do this, we're going to be in position to win. It's never been about individual play, it's never been about small groups, it's always been about our guys competing against the other team. We've always believed that. If I've ever singled Kevin out or singled the three out they would be offended by it. That's not how they think."

On the player that seems to be the most confident and relaxed:

"Kevin. I thought Kevin had a great day of practice yesterday and he was very confident and relaxed. I like that. He is one of our better players and he has to continue to be one of the leaders of our team. I don't sense any guys on our team like stressing out or anxiety going into this series and the Finals but I do sense we're all a little nervous. I told the guys you have to be nervous. I listened to the telecast a couple of games ago with (ESPN's) Magic (Johnson) and he was talking about he was always nervous before games and until that ball was tipped off. To me that's good because that means you care about what you do, you care about the results and we have a group of guys who all care about how they perform and how they perform for each other."

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