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Berry Tramel chat: Previewing Thunder-Spurs Game 1

Berry Tramel answered your questions live from San Antonio on the Power Lunch chat sponsored by H&H Shooting Sports. Here's the full transcript:
by Berry Tramel Modified: May 19, 2014 at 9:52 am •  Published: May 19, 2014
NewsOK Sports 10:00 a.m. We're gearing up for Thunder-Spurs, Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Talk about the series and the Serge Ibaka injury impact with Berry Tramel on our live chat at 11 a.m.
Berry Tramel 10:52 a.m. Hey, everybody, I'm up and running from San Antonio. So send in your questions and we'll get started in a couple of minutes.
Micah 10:53 a.m. Who do you think Brooks will start tonight and Who would you start tonight?
Berry Tramel 10:54 a.m. I think Brooks will start Collison. But he might start Perry Jones. And I think I would start Jones. Give San Antonio something to think about. I don't know if Jones can check Tiago Splitter, and I don't know if Brooks wants to ask Durant to check Splitter, from the start. But playing such a hybrid lineup would mess with the Spurs' gameplan.
Redneck Joe 10:54 a.m. Berry, thanks for having power lunch. At times its very informative for yard birds like me. I have a question, seems to me Adams has more offense production when Nick Collison and Adams are playing at the same time. Your thoughts?
Berry Tramel 10:55 a.m. You might be on to something. I think it comes down to this. Adams really scores only two ways. Off offensive rebounds, or off passes to him near the basket. Collison clearly is a better pass than is Ibaka, so it stands to reason that Adams' chances would go up.
Joey 10:55 a.m. How much of Perry Jones will we see? Can he make a difference?
Berry Tramel 10:56 a.m. I'd bet Jones gets 15 minutes or so. Like I said, I might start him, see what happens. Even if he doesn't start, I'd bet he plays some. Let's see. Ibaka's good for 30-36 minutes a game. One of the Clipper games, Ibaka played 46 minutes. So that's a lot of minutes. Some will go to Adams, but I'll bet some goes to Jones.
Dj 10:56 a.m. If Indiana makes it to the finals do you think the Thunder still have a fighters chance of winning?
Berry Tramel 10:57 a.m. Well, the Thunder has to get past San Antonio first. But yes, if the Thunder gets past the Spurs, I like their chances against the Pacers. Not the Heat. But the Pacers.
Dj 10:57 a.m. Is serge ibaka shot blocking a tad bit overrated isn't it about position and bball IQ?
Berry Tramel 10:58 a.m. No. Serge Ibaka's shot blocking is vastly UNDERrated. For this reason, Ibaka affects so many more things than the three shots he blocks. He affects the 5-6 shots that he doesn't get but almost does, shots that are lofted a little higher or a little wider than they'd like to be, because here comes Serge. And he affects the 10-12 shots a game THAT AREN'T SHOT, because penetrators know Ibaka is always there to potentially contest. Those 2-foot shots become 14- of 20-foot shots. So Ibaka's impact on the game is vast.
Dj 10:58 a.m. Who's your favorite player on the thunder?
Berry Tramel 10:59 a.m. Oh, I suppose Thabo Sefolosha. I love the way Thabo plays. I wish Brooks would play him more.
Dj 10:59 a.m. Is Russell Westbrook a top 5 player in the NBA in your opinion?
Berry Tramel 11:00 a.m. Top five? I doubt it. Top 10? Yes. And heck, numbers three through 12-15 are pretty close. So you might make an argument for Westbrook. But I'd bet he would settle somewhere around 7-8.
Dj 11:00 a.m. Who you got winning tonight? and who you got winning the series?
Berry Tramel 11:01 a.m. I picked the Thunder to win the series. I guess I'll go Spurs tonight, as the Thunder adjusts to playing without Ibaka. I just think the Thunder has huge advantages over the Spurs that not even the loss of Ibaka can make up for. But it will take awhile for OKC to get its footing.
Dj 11:01 a.m. If Thunder gets beat pretty easily do you see a coaching change?
Berry Tramel 11:01 a.m. No. None what soever.
Dj 11:01 a.m. Who starts the 2 gaurd next year?
Berry Tramel 11:03 a.m. Excellent question. I would guess the Thunder would go one of five directions: 1. Thabo returns; 2. Thabo leaves and Andre Roberson steps in for Sefolosha; 3. The Thunder resigns Caron Butler and goes offense-heavy; 4. A free agent comes on -- who that might be, I have no idea; 5. Reggie Jackson. Don't sleep on No. 5. The Thunder loves Reggie, and when he's on the court with Westbrook, defenses go ballistic.

ThunderUpQuailSprings 11:03 a.m. Who do you believe the starting line up will be and will it include Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams?
Berry Tramel 11:04 a.m. No, neither. I don't see Lamb playing. I don't know why he would. Ibaka's void doesn't really affect Lamb. And I don't see Adams starting. He and Perkins don't seem to be a good duo to play together. The Thunder's best lineup in this series might be going small, with Durant at power forward and Adams at center. I can see the Thunder finishing that way, but not starting.
Jason 11:04 a.m. Assuming this series extends to 6-7 games, what percentage chance to you give Ibaka being able to see the court in the finals?
Berry Tramel 11:06 a.m. Doesn't sound like he'll be back. I guess it's possible, but I wouldn't count on it.
Guest 11:06 a.m. I think that for the thunder to succeed with the remaining games in this western conderence finals and finals, they have to be physical and nasty, as the Spurs and Heat don't like physicality. Even Popovich will cry to high heavens, if his players are getting hurt and that's the secret to win the title, any take on it?
Berry Tramel 11:07 a.m. I think physicality matters, for this reason. Being physical with the Spurs means you can disrupt their offense. Their flow. Knock them off their spots, Make them atch the ball 30 feet from the basket instead of 22. Make them worry about just catching the ball rather than firing a pass as soon as they catch it.
harry man 11:07 a.m. how many daily oklahoman writers and photos are in san antonio
Berry Tramel 11:08 a.m. Six. Myself, Jackie O., AC Slater, RFD, Johnny Damon and photographer Sarah Phipps.
Guest 11:08 a.m. Another secret for the Thunder is always start ahead in scoring and never play catch up, cause that's when they lose momentum and run out of gas, care to comment?
Berry Tramel 11:09 a.m. Well, that's a good key for any team. Get ahead and stay ahead. But the Thunder has shown it can come back. Thunder was way down in Games 5 and 6 against the Clippers, and won both games.
Berry Tramel 11:11 a.m. I'm no medicine man. But I know that guys who run and jump a lot use their calves a lot. Sam Presti said this is an injury that doesn't take a lot of rehab time, but the possibility of re-injury is high, so you've got to let it completely heal.
Dooby 11:11 a.m. Berry, help me understand, until this year I've never heard of a calf strain being so serious. We had Thabo sidelined forever because of one now Ibaka. Can you elaborate on why it's such a serious injure and if there is just the smallest chance Serge might be back if we make the finals.
Berry Tramel 11:11 a.m. Oops. Got those out of order. Sorry.
Robin in Tulsa 11:14 a.m. Hi Berry - I've read about some football teams adopting different kinds of training that have successfully reduced the injury rate - could the NBA benefit from something like that? Have any of the teams looked into it? Seems like injuries are such a huge factor, can make or break any team's fortunes in the regular season and postseason.
Berry Tramel 11:16 a.m. I assume that the NBA teams, especially forward thinking franchises, of which most of them are, have medical/training techniques that are cutting edge. The Thunder had a great stretch of health fortune -- but now have joined the unlucky ranks.
Me 11:16 a.m. Do you think there is still a chance Ibaka makes an appearance in this series if it is say 2-2 after a week?
Berry Tramel 11:16 a.m. No. Zero chance.
Me 11:16 a.m. Pretend you are Dean Blevins......give us your % chance that the Thunder can still get to the Finals minus Ibaka.
Berry Tramel 11:16 a.m. 51 percent.
Guest 11:17 a.m. Durant has played just a small percentage of his minutes with a Collison-Adams front-court pairing this season, but he’s been remarkably effective when he does, netting his highest true shooting percentage, as per the fivethirtyeight survey!
Berry Tramel 11:18 a.m. If that lineup has played before Game 6 in LA, I don't remember.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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