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OKC Thunder: ESPN's Mike Tirico says Thunder has lost confidence on offense

Tirico surprised to be sent to Houston to call Game 6 of the series
by Mel Bracht Published: May 2, 2013
/articleid/3805714/1/pictures/2042515">Photo - ESPN play-by-play man Mike Tirico. PHOTO COURTESY ESPN <strong>Allen Kee</strong>
ESPN play-by-play man Mike Tirico. PHOTO COURTESY ESPN Allen Kee

I'm never surprised when a coach mixes it in. Tom Thibodeau (Bulls coach) mixed it in Nets-Bulls Game 4 on Saturday and it turned the momentum. If Scotty (Brooks) would have gotten Asik to miss a couple of free throws and then come down and get a three and get a five-point swing, then get a four-point swing a possession later, then it would have looked like it was genius. I have no problem with the coach doing it for a couple of trips because it's within the rules. But the consequences are you start to lose confidence as a team that you have to resort to that to have a chance. With a team with a low ebb in their offensive confidence, I think that may have contributed to that even more. I personally hate the rule. I think if you want to take it out of the game, which they should, they should make any fouls like that, instead of two free throws for a common foul, it should be the old thing that we had in the '70s, three shots to make two and possession. If that's the rule, no one would ever do it.

Do you expect another big game from James Harden like he had in Game 5?

You guys saw it in the playoffs last year: James has been big in very big games and he has come up small in some big moments as you saw during the (NBA) Finals. We tend to like to write the final line of everyone's story at that moment. It's only his fourth year in the league. These are all learning experiences and now it's being the No. 1 option. I think the fact that other people were making shots early on, like Francisco Garcia, that helps free up a guy like Harden. Houston played to me exactly like they were: 3-1 with nothing to lose and letting it fly. And they'll probably play like that Friday night. It will be up to the Thunder to match that ease and freedom when they play.

by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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