Sunday, June 17, 2012
Scott Brooks won't change lineup
By Tom Haberstroh ESPN.com
MIAMI -- Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks hasn't changed his starting lineup all postseason and that won't change now.
Despite falling behind 20-10 early in Game 1 and 18-2 in Game 2, Brooks was adamant after Sunday's shootaround that he wouldn't adjust his lineup card.
"It hasn't even crossed my mind to change the starting lineup," Brooks said ahead of Game 3.
Get all the news and commentary on the Heat-Thunder matchup on ESPN.com's series page.
Brooks has started a lineup featuring Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins for the entirety of the playoffs and they've won 13 of their 17 games so far.
With James Harden, the Thunder are one of the few teams in the league who brings one of their top scorers off the bench. Harden scored 21 points on 11 shots in Game 2 off the bench.
Although the Thunder have been outscored by 18 points when Perkins is on the floor in the series, Brooks doesn't see the need to replace him or insert Harden into the starting unit. Brooks prefers the continuity of his rotation in order to try to take the lead in a series tied 1-1.
"There's always a chemistry thing that's important," Brooks said. "You just can't say, 'Just throw guys out on the floor and hope that it works.' "
Brooks hopes his players will get off to a better start in Game 3 in Miami than they did in Games 1 and 2 in Oklahoma City.
"It's important to have a good start and a good finish," Brooks said. "Every fight is important. You can't just say we're going to knock the guy out in the final round, you have to punch him in the first round just as many times in the last round. We have to fight every possession and every round and that's what we have to do. I've never considered changing the starting lineup, we're pretty good."