TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley ripped Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook for shooting too much and the team overall for taking too many jump shots following the Thunder’s Game 2 overtime loss Monday night to the Memphis Grizzlies.
“You don’t want your point guard shooting 30 times,” Barkley said. “Nobody else got in the flow. Kevin (Durant) tried to get in the game late, but he never got his rhythm. Russell has to understand that I’m the point guard. I’ve got to get other guys involved, especially KD, the second-best basketball player in the world. He’s the guy who makes everything go.”
Host Ernie Johnson noted that Durant and Westbrook each took 28 shots.
Barkley repeated his regular complaint against the Thunder.
“The criticism of OKC for the last three or four years still goes,” Barkley said. “Too many jumpers and they are tough jumpers. You are just not going to win ‘cause you don’t live by jumpers, you die by jumpers.”
Johnson noted that the Thunder was 9 of 30 from 3-point range.
Barkley had made similar comments about Westbrook at halftime. Sideline reporter Lewis Johnson relayed Barkley’s comments that Durant needed to be more involved in the offense to Thunder coach Scott Brooks, and Johnson said he replied, “Who’s listening to Charles anyway?”
TNT analyst Kenny Smith said he was pleased by the effort of both teams, but not the execution. “I think both teams down the stretch had ample opportunity to win the game,” he said, noting missed free throws, fouling a three-point shooter and ballhandling woes.
The game wouldn’t have gone to overtime without two dramatic plays by the Thunder in the closing seconds — a desperation 4-point play by Durant and Kendrick Perkins’ putback at the buzzer.
Fox Sports Oklahoma’s broadcast team of Brian Davis and Grant Long and TNT’s broadcast team of Brian Anderson and Greg Anthony captured the emotion of the plays, although it was hard to hear Anderson at times over the roar of the crowd.
On Durant’s desperation 3-point heave as the ball was going out of bounds and was fouled, Davis screamed, “Oh and one! Sometimes you would rather be lucky rather than good. You want to talk about a prayer shot.”
Long added, “Are you kidding me! Kevin Durant is living right and living good.”
Anderson said, “Are you kidding me? Kevin Durant a chance at four.”
On Perkins’ putback, Davis said, “Perkins with the rebound and he puts it back … Come on, are you kidding me? The four-point play by Durant and this on top of that.”
Both analysts, Anthony and Long, credited Thunder coach Scott Brooks for making a key substitution to put Perkins in the game in the closing seconds.
The Thunder’s dramatic plays didn’t materialize in overtime as the Grizzlies evened the series at 1-1.
“Tip your hat to the Memphis Grizzlies,” Anderson said. “What a gutty performance.”
•At halftime, TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal praised Serge Ibaka’s performance, both on the offensive and defensive ends. “Serge Ibaka is the king of effort … He has the ability to be OKC’s third legitimate scorer. If he can continue to play like that, they have a great chance of winning the championship.”
•FSOK analyst Nancy Lieberman noted in the postgame that the Thunder’s offense stagnated in face of the Grizzlies defense, which she said blended man-to-man on the ball and a triangle by the basket. “You must swing that side to side and make multiple combinations of passes. It didn’t happen as must as you’d hope for.”
•FSOK has not been using Lieberman’s analysis at halftime, instead relying on newcomer Erin Hartigan, who has stumbled at times.
•As overtime started, Anthony, who had called the NCAA Final Four said, “We’ve got a little bit of April Madness right now.”
•Anthony, noting Ibaka’s gestures after a blocked shot in the second quarter. “No, no, no! That’s allowed as long as you don’t do it at the player.”