Reggie Jackson’s playoff-high 32 point performance drew raves from both the ESPN and Fox Sports Oklahoma announcers Saturday night.
“Jackson with an epic performance,” FSOK announcer Brian Davis said.
“A jubilant Russell Westbrook and a grateful Kevin Durant for the performance of Reggie Jackson,” ESPN analyst Mark Jones said as the Thunder celebrated on the court after Mike Conley missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that could have tied the game.
Davis’ call on the shot: “Conley spins challenged by Reggie Jackson. No. Thunder wins! Thunder wins! Thunder wins! I think we found out what kind of team we got.”
Jackson hit four straight free throws in the final minute of overtime to preserve the victory.
“He’s been there before with the game on the line,” FSOK analyst Grant Long noted.
Jackson bailed out Durant and Westbrook, who had subpar shooting performances.
As Durant laid on the floor asking for a foul in his worst playoff performance of his career, ESPN analyst Doris Burke raved about Tony Allen’s defensive effort late in the fourth quarter Saturday night.
“That is a bulldog in that No. 9 jersey,” Burke said. “It has taken a phenomenal amount of energy to battle as that guy has battled.”
Burke, best known for calling college basketball games, showed she also is quite adroit at the NBA game. Burke and Mark Jones were an entertaining duo.
Joking how Allen appeared to have injured an ankle as he laid on the court and then shot up after a turnover for a dunk, Jones sounded amazed.
“He got better in a hurry,” Jones said. “It was like Paul on the road to Damascus. That was a huge turnaround.”
Burke got a kick out of the biblical reference.
“I didn’t know you doubled as a biblical scholar. Do you preach as well?”
Jones responded, “Just in my spare time.”
The announcers noted that Westbrook had come to the defense of Thunder coach Scott Brooks when Westbrook’s brother had tweeted that the Thunder needed to make a coaching change.
Burke said, “The irony of that tweet to me, over the years Russell Westbrook has been a lightning rod and taken the lion’s share of criticism when his team has struggled. And the guy who has been most staunchly in his corner has been Scott Brooks.”
The ESPN cameras caught Brooks imploring Durant to get his offensive game going in the fourth quarter.
“Take over the fourth quarter! Impact with your defense and rebounding. Now impact with your playmaking and scoring.”
Brian Davis gives Derek Fisher standing ovation
Davis gave Derek Fisher a standing ovation when he Fisher entered the game, tying Robert Horry for most NBA playoff games with 244.
Long noted that Fisher had downplayed his role in a pregame interview. “He had a lot of gracious talk about his teammates, coaches and forth because it takes an entire unit as a team to get in that many playoff games.”
Davis on Westbrook blocking a Zack Randolph shot: “Westbrook came from nowhere to swat it.”
Davis on Jackson’s remarkable behind the back pass to Kendrick Perkins for a short jumper: “What a nifty pass… How about the behind-the-back shovel to Perkins on the sideline.”
Reserve forward Perry Jones photobombed the FSOK opening, with Davis noting that Long didn’t flinch despite the gesture.
Analyst Doug Collins, a former NBA coach, noted the Thunder’s turnover woes hadn’t hurt the team. “Thirteen turnovers by Oklahoma City, but only four points off turnovers.”
He noted that Jackson and Caron Butler had combined for 17 of the Thunder’s 22 bench points. “The bench has actually outscored the starters.”
Analyst Bill Simmons picked the Thunder to win the game. “I think Memphis blew their chance. Oklahoma City wins. So congratulations Memphis, I’m always wrong.”
The show was marred when a light exploded. “They are shooting at us,” Simmon said.
Collins didn’t miss a beat and kept talking and noted he was “used to having stuff thrown at him.”