Thunder keeping Brooks on bench

LOS ANGELES — The Oklahoma City Thunder hired coach Scott Brooks on Wednesday, removing the interim tag from the 43-year-old’s job title and giving him his first head coaching gig.

The announcement came earlier in the day before the Thunder played the Los Angeles Clippers in both team’s season finale. While the season didn’t pan out as expected with the Thunder stumbling to a 22-59 record, Brooks scored high marks from management for his handling of young players.

General manager Sam Presti said Brooks proved his ability to communicate with a young team while demonstrating the necessary passion to help players improve.

Brooks took over for P.J. Carlesimo on Nov. 22 after the team got off to a 1-13 start. He was 21-47 afterward.