Westbrook was 4 of 6 from the field and 6 for 6 on free throws in the extra period. He finished with 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth straight triple-double, his ninth this season and the 46th of his career. The Thunder have won all four games during his triple-double streak, and he heads into December averaging a triple-double through 20 games this season. Former Thunder coach Scott Brooks returned as Washington’s coach, and the Oklahoma City crowd greeted him warmly. Brooks coached the Thunder for seven years and led them to the Western Conference Finals three times and the NBA Finals once. “I’m humbled that they did that for me, and I appreciate it,” Brooks said. “I’m glad they came out and supported their team and showed kind of what we did throughout the years.”
He embraced mistakes and encouraged his young players to learn through making them — specifically with Westbrook, who Brooks religiously defended. In many ways, the Russell Westbrook we’re watching today is a result of Brooks’ dedicated commitment to letting Westbrook figure it out on his own. Brooks was the original #LetWestbrookBeWestbrook apostle. “Scotty’s my guy,” Westbrook said on Tuesday. “He gave me a real shot to be able to do some of the things [I do] and make mistakes and he always had my back in that situation. Especially when I first got here. He was always the one who had my back through those times, and he’s obviously a good coach as well.”
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There was a certain innocence to the Brooks era. It was the best of the Thunder, the up and comers with all the talent and all the flaws. Fans continue to have a deep appreciation for Brooks, not just because he was at the heart of the rise of the franchise, but because of his humanity. “You’re not going to find anybody with anything bad to say about that guy,” Nick Collison said. “He had a way with people.”
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