An advertisement for a detective show on the message board under the official's table at Oklahoma City Arena summed up the feeling of TNT analysts regarding the Thunder's 99-72 victory Wednesday night. It read “Memphis Beat.”
Coming off the Thunder's triple-overtime victory late Monday in Memphis, studio analyst Charles Barkley and game analyst Mike Fratello said they felt the Grizzlies were fatigued.
“Memphis is a young team,” Barkley said, “and psychologically the triple overtime (loss) had a huge impact on them. They came out with no energy. It will be up to Coach Lionel Hollins to get the energy level back up.
“It was a huge advantage for Oklahoma City to come home. These (Oklahoma City and Memphis) probably have the best two crowds in the NBA.”
Barkley and studio analyst Kevin McHale felt the Thunder poured it on late in the game with a flurry of 3-point shots.
“For me, Oklahoma City did a little too much celebrating the last couple minutes,” McHale said. “Lionel Hollins will show them the tape, and the Memphis Grizzlies will win Game 6 back home at the Mailbox. The big fellows will be upset.”
Barkley said he would have taken a hard foul when the Thunder kept firing 3-point shots late in the game.
“I'm going to take a guy into the stands,” he said, “and I'm going to make it look like an accident.”
Said Fratello, “The Thunder just had more energy than the Grizzlies. They got to the ball first.”
*Westbrook, who has received his share of criticism this series, was praised by TNT analyst Kenny Smith at halftime on his “Kenny's Pictures” segment. After showing a video of Westbrook making a long jump shot, Smith showed him passing to James Harden for a slam dunk on a play in which Westbrook could have scored. “Sometimes as a great player you need to get the other guys the basketball because you can get them (your points) yourself.”