TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley said the Oklahoma City Thunder got out of its effective offense in the second half, contributing to the 103-97 overtime loss in Game 4 Monday night.
“I think they played a perfect first half, moving the ball and being aggressive and then in the second half they went back to the 4-4 iso game,” he said.
However, he also said the Thunder lost the game in the first half when its big lead was trimmed.
“I think OKC blew the game when they let the 17-point lead get down to eight at halftime,” he said.
Barkley also noted Memphis' offensive rebounds wore down the Thunder late in the game.
“When they got like three offensive rebounds in a row, and finally scored, it's tough on those guys. Those guards have to help them with that.”
Studio analyst Kenny Smith noted that Thunder forward Serge Ibaka failed to get his usual offensive rebounds.
Studio analyst Shaquille O'Neal, not a fan of Ibaka's jump shooting, said, “You can't be hitting the boards if you're picking and popping and shooting threes.”
TNT analyst Mike Fratello, the “Czar of the Telestrator,” used his telestrator on some key plays, including Kevin Durant's game-tying layup with 6 seconds left.
Fratello showed how the Thunder used a double-screen to free Durant.
“Durant turns the corner, laying it up over the top of the rim.”
In the second quarter, the former NBA coach illustrated Durant's pass to Kevin Martin for an easy layup. “Kevin Durant to Kevin Martin, communication and execution.”
Fratello's analysis was strong again throughout the game.
On Memphis' final play in regulation, when Zack Randolph's shot fell short: “It surprised me that they wanted to give it to Randolph that far away. But they felt that he would have more foot speed and quickness than Perkins. Unfortunately, for them, Perkins made a big block.”
After Derek Fisher's inbounds pass to Kevin Martin was stolen by Tony Allen, Fratello said, “The only guy that knew it was going there was Tony Allen.”
His overall assessment at the end of the game. “Well as (Thunder coach) Scott Brooks said, we're not giving up on the defensive end. They found a way to hang in there, giving them a chance to win.”
COACHING CLOSE UP
TNT showed Memphis coach Lionel Hollins used a boxing analogy in addressing his team in a time out after the Thunder had pulled out to a 15-point lead in the second quarter. “They got a good plan. They hit us with a right cross. What are you going to do? Count it out and lay on the mat or get up and fight? The only way you're going to fight is with strong defense, rebounding and by being aggressive on offense.”
O'Neal credited Ibaka's hot shooting in the first half. “This guy is killing it. If he is hitting that shot, they can be a dangerous team.”
Smith praised the Thunder offense for getting some easy shots and second-chance points. “If Oklahoma City can get 16 or 18 points with that type of effort, they can compete with Memphis.”
Barkley said he was glad to see the Thunder move away from using Durant as a point of forward. “Don't get it to him at the top of the key. No one is going to score one on five all the time.”
However, he and Shaq agreed the Thunder's eight-point lead might not hold up.
“If I'm Oklahoma City, I'm a little concerned. They should be up more than eight points.”