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Oklahoma City Thunder: What would Abe Lemons do?

Greg Davis is a retired Army colonel who grew up in Oklahoma City, living next door to loquacious Oklahoma City University coach Abe Lemons. Greg became a big OU fan, now lives in Florida and also has adopted the Thunder as a team for his passion.
by Berry Tramel Modified: May 20, 2014 at 9:18 am •  Published: May 20, 2014


photo - If former Oklahoma City University coach Abe Lemons was coaching the Thunder, his message after Game 1 would be to get good rest. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
If former Oklahoma City University coach Abe Lemons was coaching the Thunder, his message after Game 1 would be to get good rest. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Greg Davis is a retired Army colonel who grew up in Oklahoma City, living next door to loquacious Oklahoma City University coach Abe Lemons. Greg became a big OU fan, now lives in Florida and also has adopted the Thunder as a team for his passion. I’ve quoted Greg before. He’s almost always got something interesting to say. And he did again this morning, after the Thunder’s 122-105 loss to the Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. I thought I would share it:

“Growing up next door to Abe, you heard conversations during the mowing-the-grass sessions on Saturday morning or the hang out the laundry on Saturday morning all year round -- my father and Abe actually performed this chore.  We both had dryers, but their spouses liked the smell of sun and wind linens, so do I until this day.  I also believe in the myth this practice keeps you healthier and free of germs as the sun kills any which survive the soap.

“A recurring theme would be Abe’s commentary how he would beat the Celtics with Auerbach if he coached some team like the Knicks or the Lakers.  He would continually raise his voice why, after the proverbial Celtic beatdowns in Game 1, would coaches try to overanalyze and start as he called it, ‘grab bagging’ at a solution.  He always said the best solution to a Game 1 horrible loss in a series was to make one cosmetic lineup change to show everyone you were doing what coaches were supposed to do, but instead, tell the players no practice, no shooting, nothing, just go home and relax, watch something other than sports, eat at home (don’t be seen out) and most of all, just get a good night’s sleep.

“He emphasized the main obstacle for a team to spring an upset in a series is to win a game before the series gets out of hand.  Relax and just tell the team to be rested and be ready to play.  If you do win Game 2, don’t be brilliant, just keep repeating the situation until it fails.

“With a bevy of great shooters, Lemons always observed the worst thing you can do to experienced, greatly talented players is overanalyze and over structure.

“Brooks should replace Collison with PJ III, tell the team to go home, rest, have a meeting to check injuries, questions and relax. The no practice or shooting rule should most apply to Durant and Westbrook.

“The Thunder have one chance.  Get rested. And then on Wednesday, run, run, run, run. Attack, attack, attack, and wear this bunch down from the top. Duncan, Manu, and Parker, make their old bodies hurt. Don’t waste fouls with touches, if you foul, foul hard and knock them to the floor every time.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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