TNT analyst Mike Fratello was on the top of his game in describing the Thunder's narrow 105-102 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of their playoff series Wednesday night.
Fratello, a former head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies, correctly diagnosed the Thunder's sloppy play, which allowed Houston to go on a 21-2 run and take a 95-91 lead.
“Really, it's been because of Oklahoma City's lack of execution, between bad shots — long perimeter shots, settling — and turnovers,” he said. “It's given Houston that many more opportunities and they've started making some shots.”
After the Thunder finally righted its ship, he took note of the Thunder's poise in helping to pull out the victory. He credited Kevin Durant for having confidence in Thabo Sefolosha's shooting and passing to him for the biggest three of the game, giving the Thunder a 101-97 lead.
“How about the confidence of Durant, who had just hit his three before that. Penetrating, he could have shot, but instead found his teammate for the three.”
Fratello and play-by-play Matt Devlin credited the Rockets for giving the Thunder a scare. “They're the youngest team in the NBA playoffs,” Devlin said, “and they've grown up tonight.”
In the first half, after Durant discussed his Sports Illustrated cover story with reporter Tracy Wolfson in a taped interview, Fratello praised Durant.
“He's just a refreshing guy. He's honest. He does his job every day in practice. He fits in with the team. He has not elevated himself in his own mind to that superstar status. His teammates love him.”