ABC studio analysts pointed to a crucial stretch in the third quarter as leading to the Thunder's loss in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. They also questioned Thunder coach Scott Brooks for taking Russell Westbrook out of the game when Kevin Durant already was sitting after getting his fourth foul.
“I was very impressed with OKC,” Magic Johnson said. “They actually played a great game. They lost this game in the third quarter. They made two bad fouls on 3-point shooters to cost them six points and then they missed five free throws in that quarter. They could have blown this game open.”
Jon Barry questioned Brooks' strategy for pulling Westbrook in the third quarter. “I thought he should have left him in to get some scoring. They were really struggling.”
Johnson said the Thunder's offense stagnated in the fourth quarter. “They resorted back to one-on-one basketball at crucial times. They threw the ball away or took bad shots.”
Chris Broussard credited Heat forward Chris Bosh's defensive play for slowing the Thunder. “A lot of times when the Thunder drove late in the second half, he was there to meet them at the rim.”
In the pregame show, ABC had an interesting shot of LeBron James addressing his teammates.
“Don't disappoint our fans, man,” he said. “Do not disappoint yourself and do not disappoint your teammates. Go out for 48 minutes, plus.”
James backed up his word in the quarter. “In the fourth quarter, he was involved in about every play,” Johnson said. “LeBron is willing his team to victory.”
In a stark turnaround from Game 2, Johnson complimented Westbrook's play. “He played a smart game. Russell controlled the ball, and he took good shots.”
Barry noted the Thunder needed to develop a fourth scorer, especially with Harden struggling (2 of 10 from the field).