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NBA finals Game 3: Thunder sticking with same starters

Jun 17, 2012, 3:35 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks reacts in the first quarter during Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals against the Miami Heat in Oklahoma City Reuters

It’s good not to make a move out of panic. Even in the NBA finals, you don’t want to overreact to one loss.

But if things aren’t working – for example, you’ve gotten off to slow starts in two consecutive games because your two big man starting lineup is a bad matchup — you need to make a change.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks is going with the former school of thought — he is not changing his starting lineup for Game 3 of the NBA finals Sunday night. Here is his quote from Sunday, via Royce Young of

“We really believe in what we do. It’s not arrogant, it’s just works for us. There’s always a chemistry thing that’s important. You just can’t throw guys on the floor and hope it works. Our guys work well together. We’ve won a lot of games. And prior to the day before, we won five playoff games in a row. That’s hard to do. And we lost by two points, had a chance to tie the game. There’s nobody panicking in our group.”

Derek Fisher is echoing those thoughts (again via Young).

“Personally I don’t think we need to change our lineup because we lost a game. Our lineup has obviously worked well for us and put us in this position to have an opportunity to win a championship. We just have to play better regardless of what the lineup is and that’s what we’ll be focused on tonight.”

I get sticking with not shaking up with what got you to the big stage. Go ahead and start those five.

But you had better make your first substitution quick. Much quicker than you have been.

Kendrick Perkins is a bad fit in this series. If he and Serge Ibaka are on the floor Ibaka is matched up with Shane Battier and Ibaka’s game and instincts is to protect the paint (as is Perkins’) so Battier roams free out at the arc. Battier is 9-13 from three in this series and seven of those makes have come when Perkins and Ibaka are both on the floor. It’s not a coincidence. The Thunder have fallen behind early in two straight games because of their starting lineup.

Start that lineup if you want, but you need to go to the bench early or the Thunder will be in another hole they may not be able to dig themselves out of.

  1. Shawn - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    I picked the Thunder to win the series but I think the Heat will win this game. The Thunder will win either game 4 or 5 (possibly both) then finish it off at home. Please check out what I said

  2. isujames - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    ^ You don’t know —-.

    • Shawn - Jun 17, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      You’re right I meant to say “I think.” I am just trying to grow my blog audience, I apologize.

  3. rickyspanish - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM


    I agree, predicting games is worthless. No one has a clue what they’re talking about but they yammer on regardless of their lack of insight. This goes for regular people and the media.

  4. bigmeechy74 - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    The only thing that stands between the Thunder and a dynasty is Scott Brooks. He makes some awful decisions. Why the hell does he play Fisher over Thabo or Cook? Ever? Also why does Perkins get so many key minutes and why do his teammates ever pass to him? Scott Brooks can be a real munch.

  5. mikeyarch53 - Jun 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Dale jr!!!!!

  6. watermelon1 - Jun 17, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    So why cant Perkins and IBAKA both be on the floor, and you just DON’T have IBAKA guard battier? Run a
    Zone, put anyone else on him. You have two
    Bigs in the game and it’s much harder
    For wade and lebron to stroll in for layups or dunks. I’d rather bank on the heat not making 60% o their shots than hope lebron and wade miss dunks. Also, if they call that foul on lebron at end of game 2 we’re
    Talking about what the heat need to change, not the thunder.

  7. rickyspanish - Jun 17, 2012 at 6:45 PM


    Durant and the Thunder are over it, maybe you should follow their lead.

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