NEW YORK -- The discussion that Scott Brooks had with his team before Sunday's practice session, following another late-game collapse, wasn't just about what took place in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
He showed them the evidence of how they were lax against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second game of the season and vs. the Oklahoma City a few days ago.
They lost all three and easily could be 9-9 instead of 6-12 based off those alone.
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"We've shown all three of those clips," Brooks said.
"Memphis, up three. Oklahoma City, up three. San Antonio, up one. The thing I liked about us, we competed and put ourselves in that position. But the thing that we talked about today was we have to be able to lock in before the referee gives the ball to their player. All three times, we weren't ready as we need to be. It's happened three times. ... We have to correct it and get better going forward."
In Memphis, Marc Gasol drained a three-pointer to force overtime. Mike Conley is allowed to get the ball and take his time and Vince Carter, after delivering the inbounds, is the physical one as he screens to create the switch pins down John Wall and Marcin Gortat.
By the time Gortat realizes it's a play call for Gasol to knock down a three he sheds Carter but it's too late. Porter could've bodied up Carter the moment he makes the inbound. Wall could've gotten away from Carter the moment he started to push his way inside the arc since only a three in this situation is a threat.
Gortat could've immediately gone to Gasol since the 7-1 center's first made shot in the first quarter was a three:
In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook launched a wide-open three to get the game into the extra session.
The initial move is Markieff Morris providing support to Beal when Westbrook makes the catch. Then both get confused on who is responsible for whom. The Thunder need three to tie so there's no need to bite a jab step or any offensive move into the paint. Steven Adams, defended by Morris, is a non-threat.
His only role in this play is to screen so shading towards him isn't prudent. Wall blows up his screen to free Anthony Morrow off the ball. But Beal and Morris appear to hesitate as to who would jump out on Westbrook as he retreats to the arc with the ball. Worst-case scenario, both run at him and he has to give up the ball and the Thunder get an easy deuce. So what?
In San Antonio, Danny Green got a clean look from three to retake the lead to win in regulation. As usual with the Spurs, the weakside of the floor is where the action that beats you happens. Their best player Kawhi Leonard drives baseline to create an open shot for Patty Mills, but Wall properly closes that down to force another pass.
The moment the ball goes in the paint on Leonard's drive, Morris abandons Green who ends up with what's tantamount to a practice shot. When only four of five players are connected, that's not good enough.
In all of these examples, the opponent was able to do exactly what they wanted to do and get the quality shot. All three were three-pointers. All three went virutally contested.
"We talked about being physical," Brooks said. "We're reacting after their initial action. There's opportunities. The game allows you to get physical. Touch somebody. We have to be able to do that. We will. We're going to continue to talk about that."