ESPN/ABC's main NBA broadcast team of Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy were filled with accolades for Oklahoma City Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the team as a whole and the sellout crowd during the Sunday afternoon broadcast on ABC.
The trio and sideline reporter Doris Burke will get to see plenty more of the Thunder since they will broadcast the entire Western Conference finals.
* On the young Thunder team with its top four scorers under 23 years of age, Jackson complimented the team's determination to win this year and noted Westbrook's wristband that states “Why not us?”
“Why not?” he said. “They really believe it. They came out with that mentality in Game 7. A lot of young teams would have panicked. They found a way to get it done.”
* Jackson on the partnership of Durant and Westbrook, who had tremendous games — Durant with 39 points and Westbrook with his first playoff triple-double. “Talk about a dynamic duo. Kevin Durant has been spectacular in scoring. Russell Westbrook has been spectacular in running his team, finding his go-to scorer and putting him in position to score, then saying, “Can you believe that there are people who believe that we don't like each other?”
* Jackson on Durant getting open: “He's done a better job of using his upper body strength and getting away from Tony Allen and Shawn Battier … He's getting wide open shots on his ball movement and not allowing the guys to lean on him.”
* Jackson on Westbrook's triple double. “The perfect game from top to bottom for Russell Westbrook. Complete. That's what you want from your point guard. Bring it home!”
* Breen on reserve forward Nick Collison, who had 12 rebounds and three blocked shots: “We often focus on the star players who score big. But sometimes the best teams have the hardworking, gritty players who could care less about numbers. They just want to win. Nick Collison is that for Oklahoma City. He has come up big for them in Game 7.”
* Van Gundy on the Oklahoma City Arena crowd: “I put this one up with anybody” he said in discussing the NBA's loudest arenas. “These fans have been basically standing the entire second half.” Breen at the close of the broadcast called it “one of the best crowds in professional sports.”
* In a “Wired” segment during a timeout midway through the third quarter, Thunder coach Scott Brooks implored his team to pull away from the Grizzlies. And they did just minutes later with a 13-2 run. “Guys, we've been in a position a couple of times when we make a 4-2 run, a 6-4 run. Let's go on a 10-2 run. Finish this club off.”
* Game 1 of the Western Conference finals will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN, preceded by the NBA Draft lottery at 7:30 p.m.
* At halftime, analyst Magic Johnson complimented the play of Collison and James Harden. Magic noted the Thunder played better with them in the lineup instead of starters Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha. “They run more and drive and kick better,” he said. “If they win this series, against Dallas, these guys are going to have to play more.”
* Van Gundy complimented Seattle, previous home of the Thunder franchise. “There really should be an NBA team and an NBA-type arena in Seattle. That's a great place to play basketball.”