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Thunder role players need to show up in San Antonio

NBA great Willis Reed said role players usually don't perform well when away from home court. For the Thunder to win this series, they have to play well in the Alamo City.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 3, 2012

/articleid/3681208/1/pictures/1737085">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (5) goes after San Antonio's Boris Diaw (33) during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 2, 2012. Oklahoma CIty won 109-103. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (5) goes after San Antonio's Boris Diaw (33) during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 2, 2012. Oklahoma CIty won 109-103. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

But why the discrepancy? Why do role players play so much better at home? It's the same with the Spurs, though perhaps not with the remarkable swing as the Thunder.

Scotty Brooks offers no insights. He's probably like a lot of coaches. Not really interested in giving in to the notion that teams play better at home than on the road, even though we all know it's true.

“I just like the fact that everybody chipped in,” Brooks said after the Thunder's 109-103 Game 4 victory.

I'd say. The Thunder shot 56.4 percent from the field even though Westbrook, Harden and Derek Fisher combined to make just six of 27 of shots. That's 22 percent.

“We have a deep team,” Brooks said. “Some nights, different guys have to step up, and Serge and Perk had an offensive night that we were all very happy with.”

But the last time they were in the AT&T Center, they had an offensive night to forget.

Durant, Westbrook and Harden combined for 88 points and made 30 of 54 shots. Hard for the Thunder to lose a game when their stars produce like that, but the Boomers managed to do it.

With this reduced to a three-game series and the Spurs getting two home games, the Thunder can't afford to squander another game like that from the Big Three. Can't afford for players capable of huge and historic games to be virtual zeros. Can't afford for its role players not to travel to the Alamo City.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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