The Oklahoma City Thunder's four-game winning streak in the Western Conference finals made believers out of TNT's game and studio commentators. Game analyst Steve Kerr even has picked the Thunder to win its first NBA championship.
“I would give Oklahoma City a pretty good advantage over either team,” Kerr said of the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat. “This is just a terrifically talented team, and I think they are well-equipped to go on and win the NBA championship.”
On the postgame show, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal also picked the Thunder in the finals, although they weren't as adamant in their choice as Kerr.
“They are going to be tough to beat,” Barkley said. “Their big guys lock down the lane.”
Although the Spurs blew a 15-point halftime lead, Kerr said the Thunder deserved the credit for the second-half turnaround.
“I feel like Oklahoma City took it,” Kerr said. “They just overpowered them with their youth and their athleticism and a heavy dose of Kevin Durant.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Miller gushed, “This was a great atmosphere. I hope America and the nation embraces this young team.”
Kerr admitted that he, like Barkley, picked the Spurs to win the series because of their experience, but “I don't know if we've ever seen a 23-year-old like Kevin Durant. His performance throughout the series was just ridiculous.”
*TNT captured the stirring moment of Scott Brooks addressing the team in the locker room after the game, complimenting them on team unity in rallying from an 18-point deficit.
“That's what great teams do. We have a great group of guys who believe in each other. Continue to do that.”
*It was TNT's final telecast of the season. The network earned high marks for not missing a beat on its finals coverage and having the NBA's best studio crew led by Barkley. Sideline reporter Craig Sager even got full-sentence responses from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in his first-quarter interview.
*On the “Thunder Live” postgame show, game analyst Grant Long said he was speechless after watching the tape of the trophy presentation. “I am bubbling over with excitement right now,” he said. “This is a moment that I'm going to celebrate with the players.”
*Barkley said he hoped Spurs center Tim Duncan, “the greatest power forward of all time,” would retire. “You can see him slowing down,” he said. “He's basically a jump shooter.”
*At halftime, Barkley still picked the Thunder to win because he didn't think Tony Parker could keep up his scoring onslaught.