Fox Sports Oklahoma TV play-by-play Brian Davis summed up the Thunder’s disappointing final play in overtime that included a 3-point miss by Kevin Durant and then a tip-in by Serge Ibaka after the buzzer.
“Durant went for the 3, swung for the fences. Ibaka did his best. The Thunder wound up striking out.”
Durant had earlier missed a free throw that would have tied the game.
Interviewed on the FSOK postgame show, Thunder radio voice Matt Pinto said the key plays came much earlier, when the Grizzlies took a 10-2 lead.
“It put the Thunder behind the 8-ball from the outset,” he said. “They need to find a way to sustain and start the game in a way to deliver the full 48 minutes.”
FSOK studio analyst Nancy Lieberman noted the team again showed its determination by battling back from a huge deficit. “It’s about the heart and soul of the team to battle back from being down 20,” she said. Lieberman credited the Thunder for “upping the tempo and getting to the boards.”
With the NBA TV telecast blacked out in Oklahoma, FSOK had the only broadcast of the game and announcers Davis and Grant Long echoed many of the fans’ emotions in the roller-coaster game, including frustration by Durant at the lack of foul calls.
“He has got a case,” Davis said of Durant. “They are beating him up and they haven’t been calling it. It’s been that way all night.”
Viewers outside of the state without NBA TV missed out on the fourth overtime game in the entertaining series. TNT analyst Charles Barkley admitted on TNT’s Warriors-Clippers halftime show that he was watching more of the Thunder-Grizzlies game than the TNT game and couldn’t comment on that game. Fortunately for the nation, Game 6 on Thursday night will be back on TNT.
•Cox Communications viewers in Oklahoma City missed nearly 30 minutes of the game because of technical problems. Cox spokesman Christine Martin said a piece of equipment that failed had to be replaced. Davis welcomed the Cox audience back after the Grizzlies had taken a 16-point lead.
•Thunder forward Caron Butler earned praises from Long, who had made him his X-factor before the game. “He’s been here before. He has a lot of confidence in his shot. This is a prime opportunity to do something special.”
•Davis got carried away after a Butler 3 with a reference to the board game Clue. “The butler in the alley with the pipe wrench.”
•After Derek Fisher set the record for NBA playoff games (245), sideline reporter Lesley McCaslin noted how the Thunder players looked up to him.
Long said, “Anyone who can play that long and be effective that long, you want to tap into that knowledge.”
•Davis on a long 3-pointer by Memphis guard Mike Miller: “His range is out in the Panhandle. You got to check him.”
•Noting the illness to TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, Davis said the after-the-quarter interviews are hard on the coaches. “The last thing you want to do is show business.”
•Long noted how the Thunder’s offense sputtered in the second quarter after Reggie Jackson turned the ball over. “I’ve seen a lot of indecision on the Thunder offense. Reggie Jackson had a good 3-point shot in transition and he turned it down. ...Your teammates are expecting you to go ahead and shoot it.”
•Actress Kristin Chenoweth, a Broken Arrow native who graduated from Oklahoma City University, welcomed fans to the FSOK telecast.
•Similar to the regular season, FSOK showed the Thunder pregame introductions, bringing the Cheasapeake Arena experienc to the viewers.