J.A. Adande: “Just when I thought the Thunder had erased every reason to doubt they can win a playoff series — the usual suspicions such as “too young,” “too inexperienced,” “defense not tight enough” — they got served a big reminder of why they likely won’t get past the first round: They won’t get the calls from the officials. I hate to talk about the officiating as the key to any series. I hate to talk about it in any game. But it’s unavoidable after a no-call at the end of overtime in a wildly entertaining game, when Utah’s C.J. Miles hit Kevin Durant on the forearm while Durant was attempting a game-winning 3-pointer. The ball fell well short of the basket and Utah escaped with a 140-139 victory.”
KD’s reaction: “That game hurt right there I’m not gonna lie! But it was fun!! Blessed to have had the opprotunity to hoop again..thank u jesus!! Okc babe!”
Zach Harper for Hardwood Paroxysm: “You’re blowing this no-call against Kevin Durant and the Thunder WAY out of proportion. I’m reading things all over the internet about how Kevin Durant not getting a foul call at the end of a regular season game in which the Thunder will still get to go to the playoffs regardless of the outcome is a tragedy. Apparently, it’s a travesty and a sham and a mockery. I’m sorry but you’ve got to get over this and put things in perspective. CJ Miles did block Kevin Durant’s shot at the end of the game. You can clearly see that he gets a little ball. The problem with the block though is that he hit a crap-load of hand on the follow-through. It’s not even close. It should be a no-brainer call. Put Kevin Durant at the line for three shots. Considering he’s having a historic free throw shooting season, I’m guessing he makes two of the three at worst and the Thunder have to wait out a desperation heave with 0.6 seconds left. If the heave falls by the wayside, the Thunder are sitting pretty with 49 wins, five games to play and their sites on a possible division title. Unfortunately, the whistle didn’t get blown. Welcome to the NBA.”
Simmons: “I wanna know if the NBA will admit that the refs blew a call that potentially cost OKC a 2-seed. That was a travesty.”
Mike Baldwin: “The Thunder all season has focused on their next game. But the controversial ending will make it difficult to move forward. Besides playing an extra five minutes, 53 intense minutes of playoff-caliber basketball, the Thunder boarded a plane around midnight Oklahoma time and probably didn’t arrive in Oklahoma City until 2 or 3 a.m. Tonight’s game will be the Thunder’s sixth game in nine games.”
Kelly Dwyer: “Over the top fun, this game, from beginning to end. Well, not the end. The end was terrible. The very end, I mean. Not the trading shots in overtime or Deron Williams’ brilliant go-ahead jumper (Jerry Sloan, somehow, managed to place 12 cutters on the floor at once for that last play; genius) with 1.1 seconds left. No, Kevin Durant was hacked on the shooting arm as he unleashed a hopeful game winner. It was obvious in real time (so much so that I was hoping it was a mirage of sorts, that the impending replay would show a clean block), and there’s no excuse for that. Referee Tony Brothers, a guy I’ve never been able to find a fan of, probably won’t be seen much over the next few weeks, and I have no problem with that. Even a split-second decision like this should have some ramifications.”
Spencer Ryan Hall of Salt City Hoops: “So that’s what it feels like to watch one of the all-time great regular season games. Both Deron Williams and Kevin Durant put on a show that will have people buzzing for years. Deron put up 42 points and 10 assists while making defenders look silly at every turn. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was sensational just being Kevin Durant and hitting huge shot after silky, huge shot on his way to 45. If he isn’t accosted on that last play, is there any chance he doesn’t hit that shot? None. I could really watch Williams and Durant trade baskets every day for the rest of my life. Let’s lock up the Thunder and just play again tomorrow.”
SLC Dunk: “The Jazz were the first team in NBA history to be given a win based on a non-call from a referee. Did CJ foul Durant on his final shot? Yes. Would I be pissed if I was a Thunder fan? Hell, yes. But I’m not going to lose any sleep over it and neither should you (if you’re a Jazz fan).”
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: “Kevin Durant has every right to be furious at Tony Brothers after that call. His shot didn’t even reach basket because he was fouled.”
You know what my favorite part about last night was? The sheer passion that erupted from the Thunder fanbase. I knew folks cared, but man, you guys REALLY care. That’s so awesome. But now that game is over, you’ve read all the reaction and it’s time to move on.
Hollinger gives his All-Defense teams. Three Four Thunder players were mentioned.
Kevin Durant has recaptured the scoring lead again. He’s averaging 29.9 to LeBron’s 29.7.
Vince Thomas says KD is Most Improved: “This award has always been tricky. Is it a “invisible to noteworthy” player’s award or a “really good to exceptional” player’s award? Typically, I like to award the latter, which is why I give cats like Rondo and KD greater weight. In the end, my pre-All Star sentiments have not changed. It’s still simple. KD has gone from a burgeoning star to one of the two best pure-scorers (along with ‘Melo) and six best players (along with Bron, Kobe, Melo, D-Wade and CP3) in the league.”