Henry Abbott of TrueHoop: “This season they looked untouchable much of the year, then things didn’t just to a little south with the loss of Russell Westbrook. They got up 1-0 in this series but to my eyes, looked nervous all along. Their swagger broke, and you have to wonder about history repeating itself. Now it’s 1-1. A couple of times, late in the close loss of Game 2, Kevin Durant quit on plays. Once he was not really fouled by Tony Allen, and fell to the floor in a bitter heap, complaining to the refs, as crunch time took off without him. In the closing seconds, the win still theoretically possible, he wanted an inbound pass but didn’t get it. Thabo Sefolosha rightly raced the floor with the ball in his hand and time of the essence. When Sefolosha was ready to pass to a shooter … Durant was barely over half-court and out of position. I feel like I can see the “not this again” movie playing in Durant’s head. He needs a Joakim Noah gator-blood transfusion to get his head right to bang out these next three wins. If Durant doesn’t believe that’s possible … it’s not.”
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com: “They’re not so much an underdog as an unknown quantity, and not just to the rest of the league or to a team like Memphis that’s trying to scout them, but I think even to themselves. There’s this period where you have to search for an identity. So I don’t think it’s so much as an underdog as we’re all trying to figure out who they are minus Westbrook, because it’s just not the same team.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Forty-seven seconds. Forty-seven seconds cost the Thunder a win in Game 2 and a shot at heading to Memphis this weekend with a 2-0 series lead in its Western Conference semifinal against the Grizzlies. And, no, it wasn’t the final 47 seconds. It actually was a 47-second stretch late the second quarter.”
Holly MacKenzie of SportsNet: “For every tweet and text and well wish that flows through in the first week or two, there can be months of rehabilitation and lonely moments. On Tuesday night the Thunder tried to grab a commanding 2-0 lead in their series against the Grizzlies with Durant doing all he could to propel his team forward. Westbrook, the player with the game that doesn’t understand the concept of “inside voice”, could only watch silently from the stands. When we watch these playoffs and enjoy the excitement and drama that comes along with them, let’s not forget the phenomenal athletes who are watching alongside us, unable to be where they are meant to be because of injuries, the cruelest enemy to any athlete.”
Chad Ford’s 2.0 mock has OKC taking Gorgui Dieng: “Really, Oklahoma City is set at every position. However, Dieng is the one player left on the board who probably could help them now. Not only is he physically ready for the NBA, he’s a good shot-blocker, a solid rebounder and an excellent passer out of the high post. With the Thunder a little weak up front, I think Dieng could be a nice addition to their frontcourt.”
A Serge Ibaka – Gorgui Dieng frontcourt sounds kind of awesome. Assuming Dieng develops. I was impressed with his instincts. Nice passer, good touch, good shotblocking instincts.
John Hoover of the Tulsa World: “When his time at the postgame microphone was finished, Kevin Durant stood up, walked away, then froze, patting his pockets, a staggered look of panic rushing over his usually stone face. Back on the dais, just inches from where he was sitting, Durant’s mobile phone remained behind. He smiled to himself, retrieved it, then all but blushed. Who, his expression seemed to ask, gets up and walks away from their phone? Someone with a lot on his mind, that’s who. Durant was his usual remarkable self Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Western Conference semifinal series against Memphis. He just wasn’t remarkable at the end. Quite the opposite, in fact.”
Jenni Carlson on Tony Allen’s defense: “Tuesday night, Durant was doing Durant things. With 3:18 left in the game, he converted a three-point play and ran his point total to a whopping 36. By the next time the Thunder had the ball again, Allen had checked in the game and started guarding Durant. KD never scored again.”