TNT studio analysts Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley squabbled over Kevin Durant's missed jump shot as the Thunder's dramatic fourth-quarter comeback came up short in deciding Game 4 Wednesday night.
“He had a good look,” Barkley said. “He was just trying too hard.”
“The lane was open,” O'Neal said. “He should have gone to the hole and dunked it or drawn the defense and kicked it out.”
The two and Kenny Smith all agreed that Durant was tired in trying to carry the scoring load by himself. “When you get out of rhythm, it's tough, man,” Barkley said. … He's going to get some blame. He doesn't deserve it. It's hard to be a one-man wrecking crew every night.”
Barkley did blame Thunder coach Scott Brooks for not having a better game plan to start the game. “Scotty Brooks did him a disservice making him go one on five all night.”
Barkley said the Thunder should have sped up the tempo earlier like it did on its late comeback.
“This is the way they should have been playing to start the game, running up and down the court. … It was too little, too late.”
Barkley also noted that Memphis forward Zach Randolph manhandled the Thunder inside.
“He sent a limo for the big men for Oklahoma City. To make sure they didn't get in any traffic accidents and get to the game. He was beating them like a drum the last five games.
In the offseason, Barkley said the Thunder needs to get another big man.
“Until they get a big guy who can score, they're going to be a jump-shooting team and they're not going to win the big prize. … Because jumpers always end your season.”
Broadcasters describe shot
TNT's game broadcasters Matt Devlin and Mike Fratello on Durant's final shot:
Devlin: “Kevin Durant, 5 of 21, trying to will his team back late in the fourth quarter.”
Fratello: “They got it back to him. He was so anxious to get into the seam where he knew he had an open look. I thought he could have made one more dribble and make a decision to shoot it or drop it off.”
Fratello, a former NBA coach with Atlanta, Cleveland and Memphis, turned in his usual strong commentary.
Besides James Harden, he said the Thunder also missed point guard Eric Maynor, who was traded to Portland. “He was a very solid replacement when they would take (Russell) Westbrook out of the game.