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Remote patrol: Analysts debate on benching of Russell Westbrook

by Mel Bracht Modified: May 20, 2011 at 12:19 am •  Published: May 20, 2011

/articleid/3569723/1/pictures/1422430">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook signs autographs before game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Thursday, May 19, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook signs autographs before game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Thursday, May 19, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Johnson called it “one of my top five dunks of all time in the playoffs.”

Studio host Stuart Scott said, “Kevin Durant got beastmode,” and Wilbon said it was “Blake Griffin nasty.”

Short takes

*The commentators praised the Thunder for slowing Dirk Nowitzki, holding him to 29 points. Thunder TV game analyst Grant Long said Nick Collison was especially effective on Nowitzki. “He covered Dirk like a cheap blanket and forced him into taking difficult shot after difficult shot.”

*The three ESPN studio analysts all were way off on their “bold statements” on the pregame show. Magic predicted Westbrook would earn his second playoff triple-double, Jon Barry said Jason Kidd would get a triple-double and Wilbon said Stojakovic would score 18 points.

*ESPN noted that it was the first conference finals win for the Thunder franchise since the Seattle SuperSonics did it in 1996 with a team led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

*Although the Thunder has widely been praised for the Kendrick Perkins' trade, Jackson called it a bad trade for both teams, noting the Thunder missed Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. “I think it (the trade) is being exposed in this series so far,” he said in the first quarter.

*In the second quarter, Van Gundy credited the officials for calling a good game. “You got to love the way the game is being officiated. No flops. … Also no anger by the officials.”

*At halftime, Wilbon belittled the defenses of both teams in comparing it to the lower-scoring Bulls-Heat series. “That series is all about defense, and there is no defense in the first half.”

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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