TNT analyst Chris Webber credited the Houston Rockets for taking Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant out of the play on the Thunder's last possession in its 105-103 loss in Game 4 Monday night.
“Anything but Durant,” Webber said. “That should be written on everybody's locker room wall. Good job on (Francisco) Garcia's defense there. Great job by the Houston Rockets on finishing strong.”
On the TNT postgame show, analyst Charles Barkley said he didn't like the play.
“They must have been going for the three. He (Durant) didn't have it. I think you go for the win if it's there, but you don't force it.”
Fox Sports Oklahoma analyst Grant Long said it was a good play that coach Scott Brooks should have been pleased with. “It's still good offense by the Oklahoma City Thunder. They just came up short on that possession.”
Barkley said the Thunder needed to get more players involved in the offense. “You got to find a way to get Serge Ibaka more involved. Serge Ibaka had eight shots. He's got to get more than eight shots.”
TNT analyst Kenny Smith noted that Durant was trying to create more offense from his point forward position.
“It's an interesting dynamic because the defenders his size are not used to being in the rare air outside the three-point line,” Smith said.
Barkley said he hated the idea of Durant playing point forward.
“I hate the way they are playing right now. Kevin Durant is not a point forward. He's their best player, arguably the second-best player in the world. They should run their offense. He jacked it up over 30 times last game. Just play. He's going to get 25 shots a game. Right now they are kind of walking the ball up and down the court. That's not his natural position.”
Barkley said the style hurt the Thunder by taking other players such as Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson out of their game.
Analyst Shaquille O'Neal disagreed with Barkley. “I like his aggression,” he said of Durant. “You see him getting bumped and bruised and not complain. … I think he can be aggressive and keep everyone involved, and they can go far.”
And far, Shaq said, is the NBA Finals.
Smith said he thought the Thunder could still make the Western Conference Finals without star guard Russell Westbrook.
*Durant's late dunk, which cut the deficit to 105-103, drew raves from the TNT announcers. “One of the most memorable plays of these playoffs,” Dick Stockton said. “One against five for Durant.” Said Webber, “Here's our playoff poster 2013, Kevin Durant.”
*Webber noted that Derek Fisher might have gotten away with a flop in drawing James Harden's fifth foul on a charge. “Experience. You know Fish used to flop. Now in the days you can't flop, you know he is going to stand in the way and take a foul. I don't necessarily agree with call ... Just so smart. Knows time. Knows possession. Knows what his team needs and plays like that.”
*Late in the first quarter, Webber said it was clear the Thunder was missing Westbrook. “You just saw Ibaka play one-on-one for 15 seconds. You'll never see that with Westbrook on the floor.”
*On Fisher being booed in the introductions, Webber said, “What's the song ‘To be loved, to be loved.' He gets that wherever he goes. He's used to it.”