“When you're a little bit tired, you tend to want to do it the easy way.”
Let's cut Randolph a little slack. The Thunder tag-teamed Randolph. Serge Ibaka. Then Collison. Then Perkins. Then Nazr Mohammed. All in one continually rotating committee.
Again, wrong word. The Thunder is not defending Randolph by committee. The Thunder is defending by ruffian waves.
“We want to make sure he feels our body,” Thunder coach Scotty Brooks said. “Make sure he feels multiple defenders around him. He's not an easy player to guard. He's very crafty. And he's strong.
“But our bigs do a good job. We're constantly putting fresh bodies against him. We're constantly fighting for position on the floor.”
The series isn't over, despite the Thunder's 3-2 lead. Randolph could rise up. Become again the horse that slew the Spurs and turned Loud City quiet in Game 1. Become again the player Kevin Durant called the NBA's best power forward. Become again the player that relentlessly attacks for rebounds.
But it doesn't look promising for Memphis. It looks like the Thunder's defense has taken over this series.
“We played tonight with no agenda,” Perkins said. “Guys covered for each other. Guys had each other's back. When you win like that, it's definitely fun.”
Fun, maybe. Hard work, absolutely.
The last four guys in the Thunder locker room Wednesday night were Ibaka, Mohammed, Collison and Perkins.
They dressed slowly and walked wearily.
And just think how the other guy felt.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.