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NBA Playoffs 2011: Defending Dirk Leads to Thunder Win

by Photo of Tommy Dee

Thunder Steal Game 2 Behind Defense and Strong Bench Play

NBA Playoffs 2011: Defending Dirk Leads to Thunder Win

You can point to several theories, in my opinion, as to why the Oklahoma City Thunder won Game 2 leveling the series at a game apiece.Credit Scott Brooks, whose team boasted the 15th best defense in the league coming in, for making adjustments on Dirk Nowitzki, who pitched basketballs version of the perfect game in Game 1.

The Thunder forced Dirk into uncomfortable shooting rhythm and in my estimation did a great job of double teaming him after he used his dribble, which screwed up Nowitzki's timing in certain instances. Nowitzki "only" managed 10-19 from the field and "just" 29 points, 19 less than in Game 1.

More importantly, and this actually mirrored the Bulls' effort in their first game the other night, Oklahoma City's bench made 16 baskets from the field and they were so effective, that Brooks benched some starters for the all-important 4th quarter including point guard Russell Westbrook, which is a situation to keep an eye on.

Via DailyThunder.com

"Scott Brooks is the main reason the word “gutsy” is in that lede. Brooks made what I’m sure was an extremely difficult decision to go with his bench the entire fourth quarter. Russell Westbrook — who was very good the first three quarters — didn’t play a second. It was Eric Maynor’s team to run. In fact, only one starter played the bulk of the fourth and it was Kevin Durant. (Thabo and Serge Ibaka played the closing minutes.) I’ve already heard people saying Westbrook was pouting, furious or a lot of other negative things about his “benching.” I’ve heard people speculating that Brooks wanted to teach him a lesson. But that’s not at all what this was about. This was about the five players on the floor and how well they were playing. This was about going with what was going to win you a game. Russell Westbrook isn’t stupid. The Thunder won the game and that’s what matters. He understands that. I’m sure

he’s going to be a little upset."

This is the playoffs. Time go get those egos in check and be ready for Game 3. Let charged.fm get you the best seat for all the action.

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