By Mel Bracht
Unfortunately, I had some transmission problems Saturday night and was unable to email my Game 1 Remote Patrol from my brother-in-law’s home in rural Sequoyah County near Vian. Here is my Game 1 report::
Heading into the third quarter with the Thunder up by 24 points, ESPN’s broadcast crew of Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown, in a moment of candor, noted they were prepared for the 80-year-old Brown to spin some stories from his long career as a broadcaster and coach.
By the end of the quarter, Brown kidded Tirico that he was bouncing in his seat because they had a tight game after the Grizzlies had roared back to cut the lead to four points.
“You would think if you didn’t know the faces, that they went into the locker room (at halftime) and switched uniforms,” Tirico said. “It’s totally different.”
Brown noted the because of the late hour and the lopsided score that they probably had lost a large share of the national audience. “I hope some people stayed with us,” he said.
Former OSU player Tony Allen helped fuel the comeback. “What a quarter,” Brown said of Allen. “Not just steals, but the defense on Durant and the scoring.”
However, the Thunder found its second wind in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Brown complimented Durant on his passing and the strong effort of guard Derek Fisher.
On Durant: “His vision is getting better every year. He’s looking and finding people.”
On Fisher: “He’s high IQ, great defender, will take big shots … He can run your team. He’s a basketball benny. He’s a good leader on the floor as well as on the bench.”
A full-court pass from Reggie Jackson that Durant lunged for and then laid in the basket stunned Tirico. “Oh my goodness. It’s just like Inspector Gadget. His arm is just as long as it needs to be.”
ESPN’s studio team noted their prayers are with popular TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is missing the playoffs as he battles leukemia. “We are going to miss him in the playoffs,” Doug Collins said.
Jalen Rose complimented Russell Westbrook for his inspired play. “I like his aggression, his emotions. He fueled the Oklahoma City defensive attack.”
Bill Simmons said the Grizzlies couldn’t handle the Thunder’s quick pace. “It’s almost like they were not ready for it.”
Fox Sports Oklahoma
FSOK also is carrying the first round of the playoffs, including airing a one-hour pregame show. Play-by-play announcer Brian Davis turned in his usual assortment of colorful phrases.
After Westbrook hit Durant on a perfect pass for a dunk, he said, “Durant led by Westbrook. It don’t get any prettier than that.”
After Memphis called time out when trailing by 25 points, he said, “It’s going to take more than a bandaid to stop their bleeding. It’s going to take a tourniqeut.”
Early effort pleases Brooks
When Thunder coach Scott Brooks was miked during a timeout, he applauded the Thunder’s effort. “Our effort is outstanding. Can’t ask for any better. Keep the effort in the game. Don’t get beat on any hustle plays.”