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.”