President Obama took credit for Miami beating OKC in the Finals: “A few of them were here a couple years ago for a pickup game on my birthday. Now, I’m not trying to take all the credit coach, but I think it’s clear that going up against me prepared them to take on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It sharpened their skills, it gave them the competitive edge they needed, and I think part of the reason they came back today is they wanted another shot at the old guy.”
Zach Lowe of Grantland: “Westbrook isn’t quite on the level of Dwyane Wade or the 2012-13 Lakers, but for a balls-to-the-wall, mean-faced competitor, Westbrook goes through some disappointing lapses. He enjoys holding up his follow-through and admiring 3-point shots, a bit of self-flattery that gives his defender a small head start in transition and is based around bad math; Westbrook is a career 30 percent shooter from deep, so chances are he’s admiring a brick. Every daring point guard gets caught under the hoop after a drive gone wrong once or twice a game, but Westbrook tends to stretch out his delay by arguing with officials and/or holding his face so as to make sure everyone in the building knows he got (didn’t really get) hit. This is fine in the regular season, but Westbrook needs to clean it up in the playoffs. He’s too good for such nonsense.”
The only way I’d ever care about what happened to Vanity Perkins at a nail salon is if Perk was there and pulled down eight rebounds.
Darnell Mayberry says Kobe brought back bad memories Sunday: “So, yes, Bryant brought back some bad, bad memories Sunday. After several recent failures, he’s seemed to learn how to succeed against this team. Sunday was only the second time Bryant and the Lakers have beaten the Thunder in the past seven games. Bryant had more than four assists only twice in the previous six games. Perhaps non-coincidentally, the lone win came when he registered eight. It’s possible we witnessed James come to that same realization in the Finals. As that series went on, the games got easier and easier for James, because he relied on his teammates more and more. He took 24 shots and had only four assists in Game 1 and loss. In nearly each subsequent game, all wins, James shot attempts dipped while his assist total rose. Game 3 was the lone exception. That’s what makes this season scariest for the Thunder. The word is out. Ball movement, unselfishness and balance can beat Oklahoma City.”
Jeremy Lamb and Daniel Orton have been recalled.
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold: “In reviewing the tape, Sunday’s game reminded me of those close contests that the Lakers’ lost to OKC in last year’s playoffs, except for the very important variable of replacing Ramon Sessions/Steve Blake with Steve Nash (and losses with a win). Last May, the perimeter ball handling errors and shoddy offensive execution allowed OKC to erase late deficits and win games the Lakers could have claimed had they shown more poise. Sunday, the Lakers turned a 4 point lead with 3 minutes left into a 9 point win. Nash’s only statistical contributions in those final minutes were a defensive rebound and his two made FT’s to end the game, but if you watch some of those last possessions again you’ll see the veteran PG, cool as a cucumber, initiate the Lakers’ O and get them going to where the needed to.”
OKC dropped to No. 2 in Marc Stein’s power rankings: “Even though it cost ‘em the top spot, OKC can’t complain too much about a 3-3 trip. Not when it began with two OT games. And with Russell Westbrook’s shot malfunctioning again. And with two wins already at Staples Center this month (one over each L.A. team) before Sunday’s stumble.”
And No. 2 in John Schuhmann’s: “It feels as though the Thunder have taken their foot off the pedal a bit, and now they’re in a dog fight with the Spurs for the top spot in the West. The six-game trip they just completed was rather uninspiring, with losses to the Nuggets, Warriors and Lakers. Russell Westbrook shot 37 percent over the six games, while the defense allowed 104 points per 100 possessions.”
KD on why him and Ibaka are barking at each other so much: “We’re just trying to help each other out. At the end of the day, that’s all we’re trying to do,” Durant said. “It’s times when I mess up and he tells me. It’s times when he messes up and I tell him. We both got to do a better job of responding to each other and just helping each other out.”