With his team riding a two-game losing streak and fighting for
playoff positioning, he treated it like a playoff game.
That proved to be the right decision as the Thunder rallied to beat
the Detroit Pistons 112-111 on Wednesday night at the Chesapeake
The win secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for the
Thunder (59-23), who will open the playoffs at 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday
at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"If teams are angling that want to play us, that's great," Brooks
said. "We are open to playing any team come Saturday. We are excited
about the opportunity. We wanted to get healthy and we're healthy.
Going into the postseason, that's what you want. Our guys are
With Oklahoma City trailing by eight and looking anything but
playoff ready, forward Kevin Durant began to take over offensively.
He scored 15 of the Thunder's first 19 points in the fourth quarter
and finished with a game-high 42. That included a drive down the
lane in which he dunked on Detroit forward Kyle Singler.
"He just started attacking," Detroit forward Greg Monroe said of
Durant. "I think he didn't settle in the fourth. I think everything
was at the rim. He hit a couple of pullups, but I think he just
started attacking. Once a guy that good gets into attack mode, it's
going to be hard for anyone to stop him."
However, the Thunder were not making up any ground. The Pistons
(29-53) matched them shot for shot. Detroit guard Kentavious
Caldwell-Pope, center Andre Drummond and Monroe always seemed to
have an answer.
But with 4:02 left in the game, Drummond fouled out, leaving the
paint open for the Thunder to attack.
With 1:32 left, Oklahoma City cut the lead to three on a Durant
layup. Detroit guard Brandon Jennings threw up a 30-footer that was
off the mark and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was fouled going
for a loose ball. He made two free throws to close gap to 111-110.
After Thunder guard Derek Fisher blocked Caldwell-Pope's shot at the
rim, Durant missed an easy putback on the other end that would have
given the Thunder the lead.
"I don't how he did it," Brooks said of Fisher's block. "You guys
were probably just as in awe as I was."
Oklahoma City got the ball back on a turnover with 18 seconds left.
After a timeout, Durant got the ball on the wing and drove to the
basket for a go-ahead dunk.
Detroit was unable to get a clean shot off in the final seconds and
Oklahoma City held on.
[to top of second column]
Caldwell-Pope led Detroit with 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting from
the field. Drummond added 22 points and 13 rebounds. Monroe had 22
points and nine assists. Singler finished with 20 points.
"(Monroe) did a very good job in the post," Detroit coach John Loyer
said. "I thought he was very unselfish when they came to double him.
Greg was fabulous."
Durant scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. Westbrook finished
with 22 points, eight assists, six steals and six rebounds. Guard
Reggie Jackson came off the bench to score 15 points. Forward Serge
Ibaka added 10 points, 15 boards and eight blocked shots.
"Everyone pitched in and gave us a chance to win 59 games and have
the second seed," Brooks said. "With that being said, I'm not overly
thrilled at the way we played tonight. But we made winning
basketball plays down the stretch."
NOTES: Oklahoma City F Kevin Durant led NBA in minutes and points
for third time in his career. The only others to do so that often
were Wilt Chamberlain (six times) and Michael Jordan (three times).
... The Detroit Pistons ended the season with four players sitting
out with injuries. F Josh Smith, G Will Bynum, G Chauncey Billups
and C Josh Harrellson did not suit up in Oklahoma City. ... Thunder
coach Scott Brooks was not happy with the way former Detroit coach
Maurice Cheeks was fired after only 50 games this season. "As a
friend, as someone who's been around him, I don't think that was
deserved," Brooks said. "Nobody in this league can go into a new
situation and change the culture of that organization in 50 games."
... In an interview with ESPN Houston, Rockets G James Harden was
asked if he would still be with the Thunder if money were not a
factor. "Definitely, no question," Harden said. ... Brooks said G
Russell Westbrook's minute restrictions would be lifted when the
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