The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

May 4, 2014

Experience key to Thunder’s poise

NORMAN — Last week the Oklahoma City Thunder were in crisis mode. At least that’s the way it appeared from the outside looking in.

With the team trailing 3-2, seemingly on the brink of elimination and enduring criticism from all over the map, coach Scott Brooks was not phased. Not because the situation wasn’t serious, but because his team has been through tough times before.

“It helps when you have guys that go through experiences,” Brooks said. “There is no question, you win in this league by having good players, then those good players playing together. Then those good players playing together for longer periods of time is usually a good recipe for success.”

The Thunder winning the final two games of the seven game series is a good example of why keeping teams together is a good idea.

“Our guys have been through a lot of things together. Good times. A lot of tough times. But they’ve always stuck together and that’s so important. I’m not saying they get along every single time. They don’t. I’ve never been on a team that does,” Brooks said. “If you have a happy team you probably don’t have a very good team that really cares. It’s an emotional game. It’s a passionate game. I like to see that out of our guys.”

Brooks was asked if coming back to beat the San Antonio Spurs two years ago after being down 0-2 prepared his team for any type of adversity.

“I think our team has been on a growth spurt for a long time,” Brooks said. “We’ve always had the approach of just do our job every day. We’ve been pretty steady We will always be that way. We’ve had a lot of success doing that. Guys love to work. That’s always been our approach. Whether we are up, down, scores tied or up big, we try to stay consistent in our approach.”

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