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Remote patrol: Mike Fratello, Charles Barkley predict Thunder will win series

BY MEL BRACHT, Staff Writer, mbracht@opubco.com Published: May 10, 2011
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TNT commentator Mike Fratello, “the czar,” was at the top of his game in analyzing the Oklahoma City Thunder's 133-123 triple-overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

Fratello, a former NBA coach — including two years with the Grizzlies — pointed out numerous strategic moves by both teams in the thrilling “instant classic” and even used his telestrator a few times. The four-hour game started on TBS after the Heat-Celtics game went into overtime.

Fratello agreed with TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley that the winner of Game 4 would win the series as the Thunder regained the home-court advantage.

Fratello noted how the Thunder's offense stagnated late in the game as its lead dwindled.

“You must get into your plays sooner,” he said. “Get it (the ball) up quickly so you have a chance to make more passes.”

When Grizzlies guard Mike Conley hit a 3-point shot to tie the game with 3 seconds left, Fratello noted that Thunder center Kendrick Perkins should have fouled him before he got his shot off and Conley would have had only two foul shots. Play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton also noted that the Perkins missed two free throws that would have made it a two-possession game.

Grizzlies' guard Greiveis Vasquez then sent the game into double overtime with an off-balanced 3-pointer.

“That looks more like a throw than a shot,” Fratello said.

In the third overtime, Kevin Durant's 3-point shot gave the Thunder a commanding 131-123 lead.

“That may be the dagger in what truly has been a war of attrition,” play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton said.

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