Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on Game 4 and hero ball: “Simply put, with more respect for open shooters, and less fascination with who’s shooting, the Thunder absolutely could have scored more. And they only had to score a tiny bit more to, you know, end the series. It came to a hilarious head with 12 seconds left. The Thunder had been force-feeding Durant so religiously the defense scarcely looked at anybody else. And yet, in the face of evidence timeouts only help the defense, and despite a Rockets team scrambling to get in place, the Thunder called a timeout.”
Tom Haberstroh in a 5-on-5 says the Rockets can come back: “The recency bias bites us badly in the playoffs and it always looks like the team that won the most recent game has “figured it out.” But that’s not it. The Thunder lost their second-best player and the Rockets have a shot anytime Derek Fisher is getting about 30 minutes a night in 2013.”
Westboro Baptist Church will be protesting tonight’s game. Do yourself a favor and ignore them.
Fran Blinebury of NBA.com: “If the Thunder are going to stay afloat, they have to do it with the unlikely combination of the second-year man Reggie Jackson and 38-year-old veteran Derek Fisher manning the point. Jackson score 18 points before seeming to run out of gas at the end, while Fisher kept advancing the AARP cause by knocking down four 3-pointers. While playing the point-forward position may give Durant a better view of where he can create his own scoring chances, the Thunder can’t let it come at the expense of not producing enough offense of their own. Durant is young and willing with the legs and spirit that are capable to play virtually from start to finish every time out from here to June, if that’s what it takes. Nobody doubts that he can deliver individually. But in the end, how he can take them is not in his hands.”
Berry Tramel: “The Toyota Center had a decent atmosphere for Games 3 and 4 of the Thunder-Rockets playoff series. Two rousing games helped, of course. The electricity was nothing like in Oklahoma City. Or Oakland. Or Portland. Or Salt Lake. But there was a time when Houston roared for pro basketball. And a scrawny little guy who played with his heart helped make it that way. Brooks was his name. Scotty Brooks. Nineteen seasons ago, the Rockets won the NBA title, and Brooks, now coaching the Thunder, was a Houston sparkplug.”
The Dream Shake: “The Rockets need Chandler Parsons to step up again. They don’t need him to go triple double, even if that would be nice. They need him to be solid and aggressive. They need Carlos Delfino and Francisco Garcia to hit open threes and give Durant problems. They need Omer Asik to be a beast and continue to assert himself in this series. In games 1-3 he was practically invisible. In game 4, he was everywhere. The Rockets won. Coincidence? Nope. Tonight should be a fun one.”