Continued from page 1

Russell Westbrook picked up the slack, scoring a postseason career-high 40 points on 33 shots, and Brooks said he was comfortable with the NBA’s scoring champion being a bit of an outsider on the offensive end in crunch time until he hit two shots in the final minute to finally put the game away.

“When you put a guy on Kevin, that means that guy’s not helping. They’re not leaving Kevin. And when they throw an extra defender on Kevin, that means you have a mini fast break on the weak side, and that allows Russell and our guys to create,” Brooks said.

“Sometimes your best scorer also has to be a decoy. It’s not about getting shots for Kevin. It’s about getting opportunities for all the other guys, and Kevin’s fine with that.”

Once Conley and Mayo fouled out late in the first overtime, the Grizzlies were left to rely on big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who combined for 60 points and 37 rebounds but eventually wore down.

“(Randolph’s) a terrific player. I know he’s going to come back with the same amount of force that he plays with,” Brooks said.

“We have to do it again for 48 minutes _ hopefully only 48 minutes tomorrow.”


AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker contributed to this report from Memphis, Tenn.