Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook draws rave reviews from TNT, Fox Sports Oklahoma crews

by Mel Bracht Published: May 3, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates after a basket during Game 7 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 3, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates after a basket during Game 7 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 3, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Halftime

TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley credited Memphis coach Dave Joerger for his adjustments with a quicker, smaller lineup after the suspension to center Zach Randolph: “I give their coach a lot of credit for changing his strategy in a 24- to 48-hour period and playing totally different than they have played the last four or five years. That’s pretty impressive.”

Barkley also called Gasol “the best-passing big man in the league.”

Guest analyst Grant Hill, whom Barkley called Graham, credited Westbrook’s playmaking with eight assists to go with his 13 points. “I like his game, being a facilitator, getting people going. That’s what Oklahoma City needs.”

Davis brings usual energy

In calling his final game of the season, FSOK announcer Brian Davis brought his usual energy and occasional twisted phrases.

After Durant’s 3-pointer gave Thunder a 78-63 lead: “The Thunder is trying to start up the steamroller and put the game away.”

After Westbrook’s offbalance 3-pointer near the end of the shot clock: “When it’s your night, it’s your night.”

On Caron Butler’s layup following a long pass from Westbrook: “The butler in the lane with a feather.”

Short takes

*Albert credited the noisy crowd in Chesapeake Energy Arena. “It’s a high-decibel, college atmosphere in here.” Kerr added: “This is the only arena where all the fans wear the free T-shirts … There is no vanity at all.”

*Thunder coach Scott Brooks also noted the crowd noise when he addressed his team in a third-quarter timeout. “Keep this crowd into it. They love you not because you’re making shots, you’re getting great effort. Keep the effort. Don’t be the one who gets scored on.”

*Albert noted that Westbrook might be in line for a quadruple-double if he could get a few more turnovers (he finished with seven). However, Albert said he was alerted by the Elias Sports Bureau that no such quadruple-double existed because it was a negative stat.

“Guys, we were kidding,” he said. “It’s a joke.”

*Lieberman complimented Brooks for his new eight-man rotation that includes Butler starting. “He’s really found a nice combination.”

*At halftime of the Clippers-Warriors telecast, Barkley also praised Memphis’ effort: “Congratulations, Oklahoma City Thunder. Man, I take my hat off to the Grizzlies. They competed today.”

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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