TNT's top NBA broadcast team of Marv Albert and Steve Kerr was in top form in calling the Thunder's Game 3 blowout Thursday night. After listening to TNT's team of Matt Devlin and Mike Fratello struggle in Game 2, it was a welcome change.
Kerr, a former NBA guard and general manager, said the young Thunder was just too quick for the Mavericks.
“Dallas just looks old at this point,” he said in the third quarter as the Thunder pulled away. “The young legs of Oklahoma City are just wearing them down.”
In the fourth quarter, Kerr said, “You see how dangerous they are when they get their big two going,” of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who were interviewed by sideline reporter Marty Snyder after the game. “Then they get a couple of three-pointers from their reserves. This is an explosive team.”
Kerr noted the Thunder also likely will have to beat the Lakers and Spurs to reach the NBA Finals. “It's just a murderous row for Oklahoma City to get through.”
Thunder fans probably got a kick of close-ups of Mavs owner Mark Cuban sitting in the stands with his arms crossed.
“This figures to be it for this particular group going forward,” Kerr said of the Mavs. “For Oklahoma City, this is all part of a future that seems unlimited for (Kevin) Durant and the Thunder.”
On Westbrook's strong jump shooting to start the second half, Kerr said his jump shot reminded him of Grant Hill's. “That midrange jump shot is so good,” Kerr said. “He kind of gets his rhythm by dribbling into the shot.”
Kerr compared James Harden to Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, noting how difficult they are to defend in the lane. “Every time I watch James Harden play I see Manu Ginobili in the way they attack the rim with the left hand and the way they use their footwork with their momentum going forward.”
TNT had fun with Harden's lengthy beard, comparing it with photos of bearded former NBA stars Artis Gilmore, Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Phil Jackson, and then ended the segment with a photo of the straight-laced Kerr with a fake beard.
Making fun of Mavs
At halftime, TNT analyst Charles Barkley teed off on the Mavs. “Dallas is too old and they're not quick enough,” he said. “The Mavs had a great run, but they just got old quick.”
After host Ernie Johnson noted they were the oldest team in the league, Barkley quipped, “Good thing they are going to get some rest after their next game,” referring to a possible sweep.
Playing on the fact that Sprint was the sponsor, Barkley compared the Thunder to a slick phone and “and the Mavs are more like that landline with a rotary phone.”
He even had some good things to say about the Thunder's jump shooting, which he normally believes is overdone. “Ernie, this team when they are making jump shots, they are scary.”
Shaquille O'Neal noted the Thunder has dominated the Mavs all season. “We've all been through this and Dallas has just met their match. Yes, they're old and yes, it's time for a change, but Oklahoma City just has their number.”
Surprised by 3-0 lead
At the end of the game, Fox Sports Oklahoma play-by-play announcer Brian Davis admitted he was a bit surprised by the 3-0 lead and asked Thunder fans to raise their hands if they thought the team would be in position for a sweep.
“Honestly, I didn't think so,” he said.
Analyst Grant Long was impressed with the Thunder's attitude going into the game.
“I think the thing that you have to be impressed with is the approach these young players had to enter the ballgame.”
He also complimented the Thunder's defense on Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, who struggled with his shooting.
“Let's be real,” he said. “Physical play hurts this guy.”