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ESPN analysts: Thunder's lack of playoff experience hurt them in Game 3 loss

by Mel Bracht Published: May 22, 2011
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/articleid/3570410/1/pictures/1424124">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) and Russell Westbrook (0) leave the court following game 3 of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the OKC Arena in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 21, 2011. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) and Russell Westbrook (0) leave the court following game 3 of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the OKC Arena in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 21, 2011. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

— Van Gundy said he believed Harden flopped when Tyson Chandler was called for a technical foul for apparently elbowing Harden. He noted that flopping is a leaguewide problem. “To me when the league office looks at that, they got to start fining them $10,000 to $15,000 or more.” Game analyst Mark Jackson said, “Denzel Washington would have been proud of that play.”

— Because of technical problems, Fox Sports Oklahoma's “Thunder Live” playoff show did not come on the air until 11:17 p.m. Thunder TV analyst Grant Long credited the Mavericks for making adjustments in Game 3. “They double-teamed Kevin Durant right away,” he said, noting they also slowed the Thunder's transition game.

— In the pregame show, the ESPN studio team had fun with what they thought Kevin Durant kept in his infamous backpack. They pulled out Harden's beard, a Slim Jim, a barbell, Durant's video game, a German-English dictionary so Durant could understand Dirk Nowitzki when he trash-talked, three miniature NBA championship trophies and analyst Jon Barry's Milwaukee Bucks jersey and then joked that Nate Robinson also was in the backpack.

— Among the crew's “bold statements,” Wilbon was correct in predicting Thunder guard Eric Maynor would play less than 10 minutes and not at all in the fourth quarter. Johnson was incorrect in predicting Westbrook would have a triple-double, and Barry was off in predicting Kidd would have a triple-double.

by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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