Notes from TNT’s NBA Playoffs Coverage – Saturday, May 31, 2014: The Spurs quiet the Thunder and now face the Heat

(Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports)



About says it all huh? 

OKC just isn’t ready and the front office most certainly can no longer live off past glory with two of the best players on the planet on the floor. Durant and Westbrook need help or they will never win a chip. Gaping holes exist on the bench and definitely in Scott Brook’s handling of this team in an authoritative sense as well as x’s and o’s. Dude misses Mo Cheeks…trust. The Spurs move on to face the Heat in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. It’s the first time they’ve ever been to consecutive Finals. The Heat are on a mission. Who wins? I say the Heat in 6. Kawhi Leonard is the key for San Antonio. If he can bother the greatest in the game, the Spurs absolutely have a shot to dethrone the champs. This is where Pop matters most.

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal


Smith on Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich: “Popovich trusts his players. That’s what Games 6 comes down to…a belief and a trust. You have to go back to what got you there. If you do that, then you can move on to the NBA Finals.”


Barkley on the Spurs system under Coach Popovich: “When you play for the Spurs, you just have to do your job. You have a role. Pop’s system can make you successful, because all you have to do is play good basketball. Popovich is the best coach in the NBA because he defines [his players] roles.”


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San Antonio Spurs (112) at Oklahoma City Thunder (107) in OT – San Antonio wins the series 4-2
Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller (analysts) with David Aldridge (reporter)


Kerr on the improved free throw shooting of Spurs veteran Tim Duncan: “There was a time in his career, seven or eight years ago, where teams were hacking him on purpose. He was shooting in the 50 percent range, but he’s worked hard at his free-throws and has overcome some mental demons that bother a lot of players in the league.”


Kerr on the fatigue of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook in Game 5 after playing so many minutes in the series: “I think it affected him in Game 5, especially defensively. These are hard minutes when you think about what he has to do for his team. He had terrific numbers, but defensively in Game 5 he did not have the edge he had in Games 3 and 4. I thought that was directly related to fatigue.”


Kerr on Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard’s ability to score: “They need that from him, particularly in this series. He doesn’t always have to be the scorer, but on the road, against Oklahoma City, they have struggled to score. He’s one of the few Spurs that can get his own shot.”


Miller on the aggressiveness of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: “Westbrook has one thing on his mind when he gets the ball in the middle…attack the rim. He puts so much pressure on your defense. He takes a knock from a lot of people in the media for being too selfish, those who say point guards need to distribute more, but I’ve always loved his mindset in games. He’s such a tough cover.”


Miller on Spurs guard Danny Green’s shooting struggles on the road: “It’s amazing. It’s like he’s unconscious in the state of Texas, but as soon as he crosses state lines he loses his game.”


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Sprint Halftime Report
Johnson, Barkley, Smith, O’Neal


Smith on the speed and athleticism of Oklahoma City: “Size does not bother San Antonio…speed and athleticism do. That is the advantage for Oklahoma City.”


O’Neal on the mindset of Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “He’s playing very focused, but the other players need to step up. He’s running the court, shooting the ball well and saying to himself, ‘You know what? I’m not going to let my team down. We’re not going home tonight…we’re going to Game 7.'”


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Kerr on the Spurs sitting Tony Parker in the second half due to his ankle: “I think this has everything to do with Game 7. Gregg Popovich does not want to spend too much energy here in Game 6. Obviously, they’re going to try to win here, but not at the expense of wearing out Parker, Duncan and Ginobili, his older three. That being said, they have figured out a way to win with a lot of different combinations, and that has paid off in the playoffs.”


Miller on the Spurs without point guard Tony Parker in the second half: “I think the Spurs expect to win with Tony Parker out. During the regular season they had 30 different lineups and Popovich rested a lot of guys…they still ended up having the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. They should be able to win without him.”


Kerr on Spurs point guard Cory Joseph replacing an injured Tony Parker: “Joseph is going to be my early nominee for unsung hero because of the way he carries himself, his toughness and the way he plays. Joseph is going to play a big role here.”


Miller on the reliability of Spurs guard Manu Ginobili: “What better guy to have when you’re coach Popovich and arguably your best player goes down than Ginobili?”


Kerr on Kevin Durant’s lack of physical strength: “The one flaw in Durant’s game is his lack of physical strength to be able to take advantage of smaller defenders like [Spurs guards] Danny Green or Manu Ginobili. It’s the one thing that keeps him from taking over in a game like this one.”


Kerr on Kawhi Leonard’s importance to the Spurs: “Without that trade for Leonard, I don’t think there’s any way the Spurs would have been an elite team these past few years.”


Kerr on the pressure of an elimination game: “You can recognize the emotion involved in an elimination game, and the pressure. It’s very easy as a player to get away from what you need to do. Sometimes you try to do the spectacular instead of the basic.”


Kerr on which Thunder player he would trust to close out Game 6: “I think Westbrook is the guy to go to. You get him the ball and let him go to work.”


Miller on Spurs power forward Tim Duncan: “Want to know why Duncan’s the best power forward in the game? Not only does he have the fundamentals down low, but he has the skill-set to offset your best player.”
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Inside the NBA presented by Kia
Johnson, Barkley, Smith, O’Neal


Barkley on who he thinks will win the 2014 NBA Finals: “It’s been amazing what the Spurs have accomplished. I didn’t think they could come back from last year’s Finals from a mental and physical standpoint. I think Miami is going to win the championship again. No disrespect to the Spurs. They have the best point guard, coach and fans in the NBA, but I just think Miami is going to win.”


O’Neal on the Thunder’s need to execute plays rather than relying on talent: “You can’t win a championship on talent alone. When the Spurs were going for the win [in Game 6], Pop called the play and they executed. I don’t see OKC running a lot of plays when it comes down to crunch time. They just come down the court and either Westbrook or Durant shoots. Every now and then that will work but, in order to win a championship, Westbrook has to pull back, get others involved and execute the play. The San Antonio Spurs execute to perfection.”


Barkley on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: “We criticize Westbrook a lot. He takes bad shots, but he’s a soldier. He can play with [me] any day. That guy is scary talented.”


Smith on what Thunder head coach Scott Brooks needs to change to reach the next level: “I think he can be harder on those guys. He can ask more from Westbrook and demand more out of Durant. They have to be more disciplined. He has to demand more, which might get under their skin in the regular season, but it will help them get to an NBA Finals.”


Barkley on the Thunder bench: “The Thunder are in great shape. They have Westbrook, Durant and [Thunder center Serge] Ibaka…but they have to get better on the bench. Their bench is awful.”


Smith on the shooting of the Thunder and Spurs in Game 6: “Oklahoma City got the shot, but San Antonio got the shot they wanted…totally different.”



K. Leonard F 44:17 8-21 1-5 0-0 -6 5 6 11 4 4 1 2 1 0 17
M. Bonner F 13:56 2-6 2-5 0-0 -3 0 3 3 0 3 0 1 0 0 6
T. Duncan C 39:01 6-14 0-0 7-8 +10 4 11 15 2 2 2 0 1 3 19
D. Green G 38:01 4-12 2-6 1-1 +15 1 3 4 3 3 4 2 2 2 11
T. Parker G 18:52 3-6 1-2 1-2 -11 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 8
B. Diaw 36:08 8-14 3-6 7-10 +10 2 2 4 2 5 1 3 0 0 26
P. Mills 18:04 0-1 0-1 0-0 +5 0 2 2 2 2 3 1 0 0 0
M. Ginobili 33:14 4-14 1-7 6-7 +4 3 3 6 5 4 4 3 0 2 15
T. Splitter 10:16 1-1 0-0 3-6 +2 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 5
M. Belinelli 06:07 1-2 1-2 0-0 -8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
C. Joseph 07:06 1-3 0-1 0-0 +7 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Total 265 38-94 11-35 25-34 16 33 49 19 24 15 14 5 7 112
40.4% 31.4% 73.5% TEAM REBS: 14 TOTAL TO: 14
K. Durant F 51:48 12-25 2-8 5-7 -3 4 10 14 2 3 1 7 3 1 31
S. Ibaka F 48:34 5-10 1-1 5-6 -10 0 4 4 3 5 0 1 4 0 16
K. Perkins C 21:05 0-0 0-0 0-0 +8 0 5 5 1 3 0 0 0 0 0
R. Jackson G 46:42 8-16 3-7 2-2 -6 2 3 5 3 6 0 2 0 2 21
R. Westbrook G 43:36 8-23 1-6 17-18 +11 0 7 7 8 5 6 7 0 2 34
D. Fisher 32:30 2-4 1-2 0-0 -10 1 5 6 1 4 1 1 0 0 5
S. Adams 12:05 0-1 0-0 0-0 -17 0 2 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
J. Lamb 06:12 0-3 0-3 0-0 -1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
P. Jones 00:10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Sefolosha 00:04 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
N. Collison 02:15 0-0 0-0 0-0 +3 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Total 265 35-82 8-27 29-33 7 38 45 19 29 9 19 7 5 107
42.7% 29.6% 87.9% TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 20


  • Spurs: Daye, James
  • Thunder: Jerrett, Roberson


  • Spurs: —
  • Thunder: Brooks


  • Lead Changes: 17
  • Times Tied: 14


  • Arena: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Officials: #43 Dan Crawford, #19 James Capers, #28 Zach Zarba
  • Attendance: 18203
  • Duration: 2:59


6 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s NBA Playoffs Coverage – Saturday, May 31, 2014: The Spurs quiet the Thunder and now face the Heat”

  1. TC says:

    OKC needs a coaching change. Bring in Lionel Hollins. He’ll set things straight. Thanks for posting Mizz…missed the game….work and hangover related…cheers man!

  2. You got it. Cheers TC!

  3. D.N. says:

    Is it that Westbrook/Durant doesnt work?

  4. Nah, the coach is a pushover.

  5. Michelle says:


  6. mapoui says:

    the coaching should be interesting.

    no one can hinder James sufficiently to make decisive difference to the outcome. Popovich will have to be decisive on the fly, on the spur, to take advantage of whatever appears as they go.

    I used to think of Westbrook as a worse ball hawk than Melo. but man! is he ever good now. a year or 2 ago he was a lil scatter-shot. not any more. Pheeew!

    add Durant and Serge and there is no reason for OKC save bench holes and THE COACH!

    Brooks seems a like a decent chap but he is out of his depth up at the top when all is on the table. by now that seems clear.