Jenni Carlson: Thunder's chances of beating the Heat in a 7-game series 'slim'

The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson took questions from readers in her Power Lunch Chat today. Here's a recap of today's Q&A.
Oklahoman Modified: March 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm •  Published: March 7, 2013
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The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson took questions from readers in her Power Lunch Chat today. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A.

ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:

What do you think of Charles Barkley's claim that the Thunder has zero chance of beating the Heat?

Well, I'm not sure it's zero chance, but recent history would suggest that the chances are slim that the Thunder could win a seven-game series.

The Heat have won the last six games against the Thunder, and in several of those games, the Heat have CLEARLY been the better team. And in the most recent game, it looked like the Thunder isn't any closer to figuring it out than ever before.

I wouldn't say the Thunder's chances are zero against the Heat, but if I had to put a percentage on the likelihood that the Thunder wins a series, right now it's only be about 10 or 20 percent.

What's the strategy (if any) involving technical fouls in the NBA when a superstar (KD) is getting closer to the limit for a suspension? Do you let it play out or try to get Ts in games you have wrapped up and serve the suspension for a meaningless game or do you just have to mind your Ps and Qs when it gets down to that last one and hope you can ride it out until the clock stars again in the playoffs?

KD is going to have to watch himself. He doesn't want to have to serve a suspension. The team doesn't want him to have to serve a suspension. But if he gets to the limit, he's going to have to sit.

KD's is going to have to be on his best behavior the rest of the regular season. He doesn't want to sit, and since no game in the NBA is a given — see, the Thunder's loss to Washington — he really needs to be available. And not being available because you're serving a suspension for technicals is the stupidest of reasons. He has to tone it down.

Even though the Heat won last Saturday against New York, it's obvious the Knicks have the pieces to beat them in a series because of a big man who can defend and score and scorers around the perimeter. Did the Thunder mess up not going after Jermaine O'Neal?

I'm not sure Jermaine O'Neal would have been the answer. He strikes me as a second-team guy, not an answer to winning a series in the NBA Finals.

Now, I do think the Thunder had a chance to go after a guy like Marcin Gortat. Ultimately, OKC didn't pull the trigger on that, but he strikes me as a guy who can score and defend. And defend both in the post and on the perimeter.

Honestly, though, I still think this roster has a chance to win a title. Yes, I said earlier that they'd struggle to beat the Heat, but if Scott Brooks would go small more, I think the Thunder would have a better chance against the Heat.

 

ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

Who do you like to win it all?

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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