Scott Brooks: Thunder Like Flying Under the Radar; San Antonio is Our Biggest Threat in the Western Conference
While the talk of the Western Conference is the struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Oklahoma City Thunder are quietly taking care of business. The Thunder are in first place in the Northwest Division and owned the second-best record in the NBA heading into the weekend. Scott Brooks continues to be humble about his team’s play, but knows the organization’s ultimate goal is to get back to the NBA Finals and take home a title.
Scott Brooks joined The Dan Patrick Show with guest host Chris Mannix to discuss Kevin Durant saying he needs to shut up and just play, Durant having too many technical fouls this season, Durant getting the same amount of foul calls as Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, the Oklahoma City Thunder flying under the radar and the biggest threat to the Thunder in the Western Conference.
Kevin Durant says he needs to just shut up and play. Do you agree with him?
“Yeah that’s my philosophy with all of our guys. Our job is to play. My job is to coach. The referees job is to ref. I think we’ve done a pretty good job with that. Kevin is an emotional guy. He doesn’t always show it, but I like that stance. I’m with him on that and that’s how we approach every game — just play the game, do your job and try to do it as best as you can.”
What’s gotten into Kevin Durant with the technical fouls? He’s got nine this year. What’s changed?
“He’s definitely showing more emotion. I think rightfully so. The referees? They see it and they need to do it. I think they do a good job with all the players in this league. If you complain too much they have to put you back into your right position and you need to just play. Kevin Durant is definitely flirting with that area where you have to be concerned with because nine is too many and we’ve talked about it. Hopefully he does a good job of controlling his emotions. I like emotional players. I like players that are going to compete. I don’t want to ever say, ‘Man I wish this guy had some more emotion.’ We don’t have any guys on our team like that.”
Do you think Kevin Durant gets the same amount of calls that a Kobe Bryant or LeBron James gets?
“I can’t complain much. He’s one of the league leaders in free-throw attempts and rightfully so. He’s an aggressive player; he’s a skilled player and he puts the ball on the floor. He attacks the rim. He scores in transition, and so obviously he’s going to get more free throws than normal players in this league because he’s a great player. They all do. All the great players get free-throw attempts because they are great. Role players can’t do what the great players do and they are never going to get those opportunities.”
Do you like the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder are flying under the radar at this point?
“Yes. I think San Antonio is doing the same thing. We’re both having great years, but we both — I know as our organization, we don’t care about what people think. We just focus on how we play and we want to keep playing better as the season goes along, and come playoff time hopefully we are playing good basketball and we have to stay healthy.”
Who is the biggest threat to you in the Western Conference?
“I think the Western Conference is so good; it’s hard to win on the road in this conference. … I think all the Western Conference, other than one team, is .500 or better at home. It’s tough to win on the road. San Antonio is always tough. They’re so good. They’re so well-coached. They’re smart and they know how to play. They have great experience. Memphis is so big and strong and tough. There’s so many teams. You have to play well and you have to stay healthy. [Chris Mannix: You just refuse to give me one team huh?] San Antonio. They’re always hard to beat. They’re so experienced and they know how to play and they never panic and they just play so well together and they lead the league in assists.”
Listen to Scott Brooks on The Dan Patrick Show here [Interview begins at the 13:55 mark of the podcast]