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2013 NBA Playoffs: Scott Brooks: "If it's in Kevin's hands, push."

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Scott Brooks praised his team's defense and Kevin Durant's late-game abilities after the Oklahoma City Thunder's 93-91 Game 1 victory over the Memphis Grizzles Sunday in Oklahoma City. The Thunder now lead the Western Conference Semi-Finals series 1-0.


The Thunder stole Game 1 from the Grizzlies with the late-game heroics of Kevin Durant and a pesky, poke-out steal from old man Derek Fisher.

Here's a breakdown of what the coaches and players had to say after Game 1 and what exactly fueled the words of the post-game pressers.



SB: "This is going to be a series where you have to earn every inch of the court. I thought that was an important aspect of our fourth quarter defense. We weren’t allowing easy catches, we weren’t allowing easy dribbles, we weren’t allowing easy shots and we were getting rebounds."

Everything was tough for the Grizzlies on this possession including Pondexter's shot in the middle of the lane, which was blocked by Kevin Martin of all people. Martin didn't suck in on Marc Gasol, which didn't give Pondexter an open, corner-three. He was forced into traffic where he was stuffed and forced into a jump-ball with Martin.


On the Thunder's final possession, Durant received the ball after Fisher poked it out of Mike Conley's hands, dribbled to a spot 15 feet from the basket and drained a jumper with 11 seconds remaining to give the Thunder a 91-90 lead. Brooks elected to let his team get out in transition rather than burning a timeout and letting Lionel Hollins set up a defense for Durant.

SB: "During the timeout I said if we get a stop and it is in Kevin's hands, push. We didn't want the defense to get set up. If we didn't get a stop or didn't get it in the right guy's hands, then we would call timeout."

Obviously Brooks isn't going to call timeout in this situation. Durant not only got the ball, he got it while the other team was looking to set up offense. A rebound would've changed this. If Durant receives the ball after a rebound, Memphis probably would've been on their way back down the court. Instead, Durant grabs the ball, dribbles to his spot and boom, Game 1 was pretty much over.



Lionel Hollins elected to keep Tony Allen on the bench until late in the game. Meanwhile, Durant took over.

LH: "We were scoring and doing our thing. I thought the big change is when I went big versus Tony. I went big and they went big to matchup with us into a real dogfight. I take guys out, I play guys differently and it’s just part of coaching. I didn’t want to put him in against somebody that wasn’t scoring because down the stretch, it was all Durant."

Hollins was then asked about using Allen to guard Durant like he has in the past "few years."

LH: "That was a few years ago. Durant's a few years older."



Allen was asked whether Durant’s gotten better posting up smaller guys: “Man, he got better at everything, honestly. I’m not finna sit here and brag about how good he is. We all know how good he is. We need to find ways to stop him and make those other guys beat us, which they did today.”



Kevin Durant was asked if he preferred Brooks calling a late timeout or letting the team play.

KD: "I Saw we had numbers in transition and we're a team that like to get out and run. Either way is cool for us, but we do like to get out in transition."

Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson knocked down two clutch free throws late in the game. While walking away from the line Jackson whispered something in Durant's ear.

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry asked Durant if he could enlighten the media as to what Jackson said.

KD: "No."

What did he say?!?!