The Thunder's strong first-half performance earned praise from the ESPN studio crew of Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon and Bill Simmons. They raved about Durant's 27- point performance and the team's 17-point lead.
“This is a statement game,” Simmons said. “Everybody was crossing off the Thunder after the Russell Westbrook thing. They still have the second-best player in the league and he's surrounded by good role guys. I'm not counting out this team.”
Simmons said he thought the team was playing with an “attitude.”
“We should mention a little feistiness on the part of the Thunder. We saw Perk's pick on (Patrick) Beverley. It seems like an angry Thunder team,” Simmons said.
Rose, a former NBA guard said, “On George Gervin's 61st birthday, we're talking about the remix: Iceberg Slim's 27 points in the first half.”
Rose said the team wanted to take care of business: “I think it goes to the fact that they lost an All-NBA performer. Let's get this series over with.”
*When Durant drove the length of the court and for a slam in the first quarter, Barry was amazed: “That's not what you normally see from a point guard, dribbling it the length of the floor and then throwing it down on the other team's center. … Delicious … oh, sweet!”
*Barry said he thought Durant's rip move should be outlawed with no foul called on the defender.