TNT's broadcast crew of Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller overflowed with compliments for the Oklahoma City Thunder during and after its 102-82 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Even Charles Barkley, showing off his new boots given to him by Gov. Mary Fallin, was all raves about the Thunder and the crowd Thursday night.
Unsung Thabo Sefolosha was applauded for his defense and his 19-point scoring effort. Miller noted that it appeared that Sefolosha had covered nearly every Spurs starter.
“He gets the game ball for what he has done on both ends of the court,” Miller said. “Sefolosha has put his finger prints all over Game 3.”
Russell Westbrook was down in scoring with 10 points, but he had eight assists.
“To me, this is his best game in the series,” Kerr said. “Throw the numbers out.”
In the first quarter, the TNT announcers appeared a bit nervous after Kendrick Perkins stared them down in reaction to their criticism from Game 2. Sideline reporter Craig Sager later noted that Perkins had watched the Game 2 tape, and he wasn't happy with their comments.
“He glared in our booth,” Kerr said. “He said, ‘Talk about that. Talk about that.' He took a beating after Game 2. He heard us talking about him. He's coming after us.”
On the postgame show, Barkley complimented the team and the crowd. “Scott Brooks made some adjustments that he needed to do. This crowd kept the energy level up the whole game. This is an impressive home court. … Take your hats off to OKC. They were fabulous tonight.”
Shaquille O'Neal, who on the postgame show donned a beard a la James Harden, credited Brooks for showing courage in switching off with the taller Perkins and Serge Ibaka on Spurs guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. “He showed some guts tonight,” he said.
At halftime, Kenny Smith credited the team's ball movement. “That's the difference. Attack the rim and make the extra pass, not settling for outside jump shots.”
*After Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave Craig Sager only short answers (“You just keep playing”) during an interview after the first quarter, Kerr complimented Sager on his courage. Kerr said, “What's the worst job in sports? Being a hockey goalie, an NBA referee or interviewing Gregg Popovich on the sidelines?”
*Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett noted in a TNT segment that he had NBA player cards for all of the TNT studio crew. He said he kept his Barkley card in the spokes of his bike. “Fittingly, it makes a lot of noise,” he said.
*On the pregame show, Fallin correctly predicted the Thunder's victory. “The Spurs better pray. We're in our home territory. We got a great crowd tonight. We love our team. The Thunder is going to win the game tonight.”
*At halftime, Barkley said a Spurs' comeback wasn't as likely as in Game 1 because of the home crowd. “The crowd gives you energy and adrenaline you don't even know you have. They are not going to let this team's energy level get down.”
*On the Fox Sports Oklahoma postgame show, analyst Stephen Howard called the game “the perfect scenario” for the Thunder. “From the beginning, they used defense to totally dominate the Spurs … Then they got their offense from their defense.”
*After TNT showed Derek Fisher addressing players during a timeout, Miller said, “This is the time you got to put the foot on their throat to make them think about Game 4.”
*During a second quarter time out, Brooks complimented his team. “I love the ways you guys are playing. Love it! Every possession means something, right.”