ABC/ESPN analyst Jon Barry has been a believer in the Oklahoma City Thunder throughout the playoffs. Despite the Thunder trailing by four points in the third quarter, Michael Wilbon said Barry turned to him and said the Thunder would win by double-digits. He was right as the Thunder prevailed, 105-94.
“I thought Miami was relying too much on the jump shot,” Barry said of his prediction. “They (the Thunder) ran people off their jump shots in the second half.”
Barry and ABC's other studio analysts said the Thunder had too much depth for the Heat.
“It was all Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter, and a lot of that has to do with guys you have around him,” Barry said.
Thabo Sefolosha got a lot of credit for shutting down LeBron James in the fourth quarter.
“The guy is the best defender in the league,” Barry said.
Stephen A. Smith even correctly predicted the final score.
“I knew Kevin Durant was going to show up,” Smith said of his pick. In the fourth quarter, “He just showed the world what a superstar is supposed to be. He took control of the game.”
Magic Johnson credited Thunder coach Scott Brooks for making “all the right moves” in the fourth quarter, including playing Derek Fisher instead of James Harden and putting Sefolosha on James.
Johnson said the Heat will need to start Chris Bosh in Game 2 and get back to penetrating and kicking back on jump shots.
ABC COVERS ALL ANGLES
ABC didn't miss a shot and was particularly effective with the cameras behind the basket getting amazing shots of Durant and James flying above the rim.
Mike Breen turned in his normal solid play-by-play, and Jeff Van Gundy had his usual oddball comments that make him one of the most unpredictable analysts in the NBA.
A few of Van Gundy's comments:
On the crowd: “To me, this is the loudest building since the old Chicago Stadium and the old Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. It's not even close anymore in the NBA.”
On difference between the Thunder and Boston Celtics: “Miami has to adjust to the increased intensity by Oklahoma City and the length and the athleticism. It's a totally different opponent than Boston.”
On naming his cat after Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks, who played for him: “The guy was class in every sense of the word. He should have been in the Hall of Fame.”
On Sefolosha's defensive skills: “He's everything you want. Basketball I.Q., length, quickness and anticipation.”
On a shot of Brooks' mother, Lee Brooks, who still critiques her son's coaching: “I just wonder how hard she was on me when I didn't play Scott that much when he was on the Knicks.”
On feeling sorry for Seattle fans: “It is such a great basketball city. They not only lost their team, they lost their records.” He failed to mention the stats were not carried over to the Thunder to allow the next Seattle team the opportunity to take over the Sonics' legacy.
Added Breen: “For a lot of people in Seattle, it still hurts.”
*ABC had a fascinating opening segment using video mapping technology, highlighting many of the top teams in NBA history.
*In the pregame show, Barry picked the Thunder in six games and Wilbon took them in seven games. Johnson said the Thunder would win the opener, but the Heat would win the series. Chris Broussard picked the heat in six games.
*In his finals debut, retired referee Steve Javie stuck by game officials. He defended a blocking call on Nick Collison that replays showed what appeared to be a charge by Dwyane Wade. Javie called it a pretty clean game.
*ABC had a great shot of a dejected Heat general manager Pat Riley in the stands with his arms crossed.