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NBA TV crew comments on the Thunder

by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 14, 2014

As part of NBA TV’s coverage of Fan Night this past Tuesday, studio analysts Chris Webber and Greg Anthony weighed in on the Thunder. Here’s what they had to say.

Webber on the Oklahoma City Thunder: “The way that Durant’s been playing…they’re my favorites to win the championship when Westbrook comes back [from injury].”

Webber on the most impressive thing about Kevin Durant’s recent play: “What’s most impressive is leadership. I’ve always known he is one of the best scorers in the game, but I think last year’s playoff series helped him show his maturity this year. Last year, when Oklahoma City played without [Thunder point guard Russell] Westbrook you saw a team playing with Durant at the top and opponents chasing him around. Now, he’s still getting the shots whenever he wants, but he knows how to take three plays off to be a decoy. The easiest guy to check is the guy you know is a hog. I’m impressed with his maturity, getting other guys involved and still keeping his pacing to score as much as he does.”

Anthony on Kevin Durant: “He’s the second best player in the world and continuing to get better. He sensed tonight that his guys, for whatever reason, didn’t have the confidence and weren’t ready to play. As a great player, you sense when your guys aren’t where they need to be mentally. He didn’t allow them to take the night off. Kevin Durant came to win the game.”

Anthony on Kevin Durant’s MVP ability: “As great as [Heat forward] LeBron James has been, and [Pacers forward] Paul George has had his moments, Kevin Durant has been the MVP thus far in the league. I don’t know that anybody is going to be able do anything, moving forward this year, to supplant him. He’s been that special.”

Anthony on the Thunder in the absence of Russell Westbrook: “The most important part is they haven’t had to change their style. It’s not like they’ve had to reinvent the way they play the game while Westbrook has been out. Reggie Jackson is a similar type of player — aggressive scorer, long, athletic and can be very good defensively. That fits right in. Now, when they get Westbrook back, they will have more flexibility…Durant doesn’t dominate the basketball; he allows other guys to have an impact, much like LeBron James.”

Anthony on the impact of Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka being left off the Western Conference All-Star team: “It’s almost comical that we forget the better the team, the less you’re going to do individually. It’s not about your stats; it’s about your impact.”

Webber on Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka: “Ibaka is one of the best defenders in the league. I dare you to find someone who has improved year after year as much as Ibaka has.”

Anthony on the success of great players in the postseason: “In the regular season your system can win games, in the postseason the great players win. (Against the Thunder in the postseason) I would try to take away what Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb did. I would have a better chance with that than with stopping Kevin Durant. If LeBron James or Kevin Durant is on, you’re not going to stop them.”


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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