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Quotes From Thunder's Showdown With Heat

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Russell Westbrook

On slow start:

 "First few possessions we started off pretty strong, but guys were hitting shots for them and they opened up a lead and it's tough, against a team like that, to fight uphill."

On trying to defend Miami's stars:

"LeBron James and Dwyane Wade hit some tough shots 1 on 1 over some good defense. When guys like that are hitting jump shots it's tough to guard ‘em. We just had a bad night, man. We've just gotta get past it and get better from it."

On if it ever gets old playing in front of the Thunder fans:

"Never, man. We have the best fans in all of sports. They did a great job of lifting me up and cheering as loud as they could. It was a great feeling."

On team's performance in his absence:

"They did a great job. Everybody stepped up, everybody did a great job of just playing their role and we got some wins."

On continuing to get healthier:

"It's still an ongoing process. I'm gonna continue to rehab and continue to get better and better. Find a way to catch my rhythm better than last time."

On how he could help while sidelined:

"Learn. Try to teach and learn at the same time. I've been on the sideline watching different things, I've been able to talk to guys, pull ‘em to the side, tell ‘em what I see from the sideline. It was a good opportunity for me."


LeBron James

On a healthy Thunder team moving forward:

"We expect them to be where they were and we're prepared for that."

On whether the Thunder is Miami's rival:

"Nope. I don't think so.  It's hard to say rivalry when you see North Carolina vs. Duke. North Carolina vs. Duke has played 85 times, and North Carolina has outscored them by two points in 85 meetings and North Carolina is 43-42 I believe in all-time series.  That's a rivalry. This isn't a rivalry."


Scott Brooks

On the bad night:

"It's obvious we didn't play well. Didn't have the good rhythm in this game. It's one thing I know about our guys is that we'll go back into the gym tomorrow and bounce back."

On shooting struggles: 

"We didn't hit shots. We turned the ball over and we were 2-20 from the 3.  When you dont have a good rhythm, sometimes the 3-ball can get you back in the game, and we didn't have shot-makers tonight."

On LeBron's performance:

"When you give a guy like James a lot of opportunities early, and easy opportunities, the basket becomes even bigger. And he was feeling it offensively, making shots, tough shots.  He's a great player and we gave him a lot of opportunities in transition off our turnovers."

On Russell's return:

"Happy that he's back. He had some good moments tonight. One thing we know about Russell is that he's gonna give you everything he has. He didn't make some shots that he normally makes but he got to the free throw line 10 times.  I'm not gonna judge him from his 24 minutes in this game. We're just gonna keep getting him better. And as the season goes along and as he gets more comfortable, and in game shape, we're gonna see a better Russell every night."

 On sloppy play:

"We didn't have the energy to beat a great team. We were out of sync. We had turnovers that we haven't had in a while. Jumping in the air, catching the ball, making the wrong reads."


Perry Jones 

On slow starts against the Heat this year:

"We gotta come out aggressive, assertive. With a lot more energy. And move the ball a whole lot quicker. We hold the ball it gets them in their defensive set and they cause problems."  

On sloppy play:

"They got a lot of steals, but we also had a lot of careless passes.  We shoulda been more aggressive on the offensive end and played better transition defense."

On guarding LeBron:

"Just try to keep him in front of me. Nobody can guard him  1 on 1, so just listen to my teammates and try to force him where my help is."

On Russ' return:

"Love to have him back. Missed him, I know he missed us. We're gonna do great things with him."


Reggie Jackson

On getting behind early:

"Just a slow start. They came out hitting early, got some easy baskets. They forced us into live-ball turnovers and made us pay.  They just jumped on us."

On Russ' return:

"Happy to see Russ come back, aggressive as he is and attacking the way he is, but we've gotta be better."

On team's sloppy play:

"They did a great job of getting hands on balls, we did a poor job of taking care of the ball. They did a great job of really trapping us in pick-and-rolls, or switching up coverages. And once we did turn it over, they really got out, flowing, and attacking downhill all night."

On adjusting back to sixth-man role:

"Yeah, the mindset changes a little bit but I can figure it out. I pick my spots and be aggressive."

On trade deadline:

"Since I've been here I haven't really seen any trades go on. I really wasn't thinking about it at all, I might have been shocked if it did happen, but we don't control that part of the business."

Thabo Sefolosha

On fixing slow starts against Miami:

"Communication. Play hard straight from the beginning. Get everybody in a rhythm offensively and defensively. It's just one game. There's no panic on our part."

On no activity at the trade deadline:

"We got 14 guys, that's who we're gonna roll with."


Chris Bosh

On Westbrook:

"He's like the iron man of high school, college and pro basketball. He's not used to missing games.   He's one of those guys that's been playing in this system since he's been here, he's been playing with KD since he's been here. So I dont see much (issues with) integration, they can run a bunch of the sets they've been running or Russell's sets to really get him going."

Bosh on whether Thunder is better without Russ:

"Westbrook is an All Star. To say a team is better without an All Star, superstar, whatever you want to call him is…a tough analogy.  We know what Westbrook brings.  They're a better team with him, just plain and simple."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

On the Thunder's challenge of integrating Westbrook:

"It's not their first rodeo. The group has been together for a long time. They've been through guys being in and out.  With an inexperienced team it would pose more of a challenge but with that group I don't see it being a challenge."

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