Report: Thunder and Brooks closing in on new deal

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You should not be surprised by this.

ESPN reports that the Oklahoma City Thunder are “closing in” on a new deal with head coach Scott Brooks:

Sources told ESPN.com on Friday night that Brooks and the Thunder, after slow-moving talks that had left the sides well apart by the end of the NBA Finals earlier this month, soon will finalize a new four-year deal to follow up the contract that expires Saturday.

Although the financial specifics were not yet known, ESPN.com reported last week that the Thunder’s most recent offer was “north of $4 million” annually.

“They are getting close,” one source briefed on the discussions said.

via Oklahoma City Thunder, coach Scott Brooks close to new contract, sources say – ESPN.

So, no, Phil Jackson will not be enjoying the Sooner State’s sights and sounds any time soon.

The Thunder were not going to let the coach that lead them to the Finals get away, no matter their resistance to overpaying for him. Brooks comes with questions, that can’t be denied. Tactically, there are issues, but at the same time, Brooks has overseen the development of two All-Stars, the Sixth Man of the Year, and the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up. It’s just too absurd to think that they would allow him to walk away.

In the end, the Thunder will wind up caving on both the number of years and the amount per year. That was always going to happen. This isn’t new stuff. Coaches, particularly, younger ones, have a hard time getting the mega-deals. But OKC wasn’t going to go in another direction, wasn’t going to risk upsetting the good thing they have going.

Brooks will be back in OKC, and the process will continue. And so will people questioning whether he’s the guy to get it done.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)