On the postgame show, TNT’s studio analyst Kenny Smith said Thunder coach Scott Brooks needed to shake up his lineup in Game 2 to try to even the Western Conference Finals. Charles Barkley disagreed and said the Thunder needed to get more scoring from its starters other than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Smith said the Thunder’s starting lineup for Game 1 was “fools’ gold because (Nick) Collison, (Kendrick) Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha are really kind of bench players.”
He said reserves Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler needed to play “starter’s minutes.”
Barkley said the Thunder needed to stay big but get more scoring output from Collison and Sefolosha. “Collison is not a scorer, Sefolosha is not a scorer, but they are better than zero,” he said referring to their Game 1 total.
He also thought rookie center Steven Adams needed to play more.
Studio analyst Shaquille O’Neal said he didn’t think it really mattered who the Thunder played against Spurs star Tim Duncan because no one could handle him since Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka is sidelined. “Adams is more athletic, but he’s barbecued chicken against Tim Duncan. Kendrick Perkins is barbecued chicken against Tim Duncan.”
Barkley said he thought the difference in the game was Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook getting tired in the fourth quarter. “They kind of ran out of gas late in the third quarter. Westbrook was dynamic in the third quarter. The guy coming at full speed was incredible.”
Smith said the Spurs players didn’t have much to be concerned about, noting the Thunder’s defensive woes. “We are getting great shots. They are getting OK shots. If we continue to get great shots, it’s impossible to beat us.”
TNT’s top crew of Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller called the game with sideline reporter David Aldridge filling in for Craig Sager, who has missed the playoffs while battling leukemia.
Kerr, who is working his final series as a broadcaster, discussed his new job as coach of the Golden State Warriors.
“I’m very exciting. Incredible opportunity,” he said. “I’m going to miss you guys.”
Later after Kerr complained about a ref’s call, Miller said he needed to be careful about what he said now that he’s a coach. “That’s a great call,” Kerr then said.
Miller noted that another new head coach was at the game in Thunder guard Derek Fisher, who is being linked to the New York Knicks’ job. But he said he needed to be a player-coach. “The way he is shooting, he can still do it.”