Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com: “But Westbrook and Durant aren’t even looking to each other much, acting as if one of them isn’t even out there at times. The number of possessions on which they go 1-on-3 or worse are piling up. Their last mistake summarized it. Down three points with 40 seconds in overtime, and not needing a 3-pointer, Westbrook launched a 27-footer while Serge Ibaka stood alone near the basket. When chance allowed an offensive rebound, Durant hoisted a 29-footer while being covered well. That’s not to say he shouldn’t be the guy taking that shot, but not at least trying to get some help to get it off spoke to the way he’s begun pressing by himself.”
Berry Tramel: “The Thunder salvaged its pride. We’ll see if it can salvage its season. For two straight games, the Thunder has staged a comeback for the ages, fueled by a final-minute four-point play. OKC’s 17-0 run wiped out Memphis’ lead, then Westbrook – Russell, not Ray – produced a four-point play with 26.6 seconds left in regulation. But just like Monday night in Game 2, the Grizzlies then took command in overtime. The Thunder was oh, so close to two unforgettable victories. Now the Thunder is two games shy of elimination.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Know the difference between this Thunder team and those that dug itself out of that 2-1 hole against Memphis in 2011 and 2-0 hole against San Antonio in 2012? James Harden. I’m the last person that you’ll catch dwelling on that departure, but in this case it’s an unavoidable reality. He was a game-changer that neither the Spurs nor Grizzlies had an answer for. Beyond Durant and Russell Westbrook, who is that guy now?”
Anthony Slater: “And what seemed to be a clear Thunder advantage heading into the series and even more so after a Game 1 mobbing — bench play — has suddenly turned into OKC’s biggest weakness. The Thunder’s reserves are struggling like never before. The Grizzlies bench crew is lighting up the scoreboard. And because of it, Memphis now has a 2-1 series edge in its first round tilt with OKC.”
Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider on lineups that need more run: “This grouping puts Jackson with the Thunder starting lineup, sans Kendrick Perkins. Oklahoma City has forced just 15 turnovers in the first two games against Memphis, and this small lineup had the highest forced turnover rate among the common Thunder configurations during the season. It also could help Scott Brooks rev up his running game against the plodding Grizzlies.”
Re-drafting 2008, where Russell Westbrook goes No. 1 overall and Serge Ibaka in the top five.
Someone in the comments last night made a great point about pessimism: When you’re always expecting the worst, that just means you get to say “I told you so,” when it goes bad. But when it goes good, you just have to shut up and be happy. Being a pessimist sounds way better than being an optimist.