After one of the most dramatic comebacks in playoff history, the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t get much credit from the TNT studio crew, which called the final minute “a comedy of errors.”
Analyst Charles Barkley said the referees gave the Thunder the benefit of the doubt on the controversial out-of-bounds call because they blew the call by not calling a foul on Matt Barnes on Reggie Jackson.
“The referees are human,” Barkley said. “Reggie Jackson got fouled. Did the ball go off him? Maybe, but he did get fouled.”
Barkley ripped both Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul when Paul fouled Westbrook on the late 3-point shot.
“There were two dumb-dumbs at the end of the game. One dumb-dumb pulls up for a 3 for no reason, and the other dumb-dumb hits him on the elbow. And I’m like, are you kidding me?”
Neither Barkley nor Kenny Smith said Westbrook should have taken a 3, but instead drive to the hoop.
“He’s trying to be a hero, and the only heroes are in Afghanistan. … He’s got to go to the basket.”
Analyst Shaquille O’Neil noted that Paul made two crucial mistakes in a row when he also had the ball stolen by Westbrook.
“I think he thought the guy (Westbrook) was going to foul him, and he attempted to shoot and he lost the ball,” O’Neil said.
Barkley finally gave the Thunder some credit. ”You have to pat Oklahoma City on the back ...The way the Clippers flat out lost the game.”
The game crew of Marv Albert and Steve Kerr had written off the Thunder before the comeback, looking ahead to possibly finishing out the series in Game 6.
Kerr, at first, didn’t think Paul had fouled Westbrook, but admitted after seeing it on replay that “he might have tapped him on the elbow.”
Kerr credited Serge Ibaka’s defensive presence in helping force Paul’s turnover on the final play of the game.
“Because of Ibaka’s presence, Paul just couldn’t pick up his dribble and go for the shot, neither could he get to the rim and the indecision caused the turnover.”
Kerr credited Westbrook for leading the Thunder to the remarkable comeback. “Russell Westbrook, once again, willed his team back into the game.”
Kerr also credited Kevin Durant’s resilience for not giving up after a horrible shooting game. He had two 3-pointers down the stretch to spur the comeback. “That’s the MVP,” he said after Durant’s 3 cut the lead to 101-93. “You’re 3 for 17 and your team desperately needs a shot. That’s impressive.”
•O’Neal discussed the improvement in Blake Griffin’s game since coming into the league as a one-dimensional player: “He can hit his jump shots. He can play defense. He has a plethorea of moves down low thanks to the great Charles Barkley challenging him. It makes you want to shout!”
•Gospel singer Kirk Franklin, known for his “Stomp” song, also was in the studio, and and the analysts noted his appearance.
•Smith criticized the Thunder’s lack of movement of offense on his big board talk with Durant trying to get a shot with the rest of his teammates standing around. “If they can avoid a steady diet of those, then I can shout about them.”
•Barkley, who said the “Thunder’s half-court offense is awful,” said both teams needed to get a third scorer involved. “Whether its Reggie Jackson or Ibaka, somebody has to step up.”
•After a flagrant foul call on Westbrook for fouling Griffin on a breakaway layup, Kerr said: “I think the intent of the rule is to protect the player. When a guy is going up in transition, he is very valuable.”
•After Steven Adams scored and then blocked a shot on the other end. “He is going to be a player,” Kerr said. “I think Adams is the perfect replacement for (Kendrick) Perkins. They are both physical, but they do it in different ways.”
•Albert on Caron Butler explaining he is “calling long distance” with his hand gesture after making a 3-pointer: “I’d expected a more complex answer from Caron Butler.”
•In the pregame show, Barkley and Smith picked the Thunder to win. Shaq took the Clippers.