- A recap of the Thunder season
- We give each player and Billy D a grade for the season and playoffs
- We answer your questions
- And more!
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Berry Tramel: “The Thunder’s fourth-quarter troubles were well-documented during the season. OKC consistently did not play well down the stretch of games. That mostly changed in the playoffs. But old habits are hard to break. It’s hard to stay on the wagon. Most improvements are not a total ascension. Some up, some down, a lot up, a little down. A little down got the Thunder at the worst possible time. Golden State is a legitimately great team. The Thunder was great, too, for this series. All but those five minutes that will haunt the Thunder no matter how many titles it eventually wins. When you get a chance to eliminate a team as great as the Warriors, you better take it. You’re not likely to get a second chance.”
James Herbert of CBSSports.com on Russ and Reggie: “It’s rare these days for former teammates to actually show animosity toward each other, and it’s kind of fun, isn’t it? Personally, I hope Jackson makes the All-Star Game next year, so he can go up against Westbrook on a bigger stage. We already know that Westbrook takes those games seriously.” Keep Reading…
Berry Tramel: “Kevin Durant is not a chameleon. Oh, Durant can change colors. Guard Steph Curry one minute, Andrew Bogut the next. Swish a 24-footer one trip, drive over Tim Duncan the next. Act like a bad boy with the media, then apologize when his conscience gets the better of him. But mostly, what you hear is what you get with Durant. There’s scant evidence that he’s a flimflam artist. If Durant is a confidence man, he hasn’t shown it in eight Oklahoma City years. All of which should make OKC breathe easy this month of June. As Durant’s free agency nears, all signs and Durant’s own words point to him remaining in Thunder blue. The question is not if, but how long. Will Durant sign the expected one-year contract that would mean greater financial gain or a multiyear deal that would cement him as an Oklahoma icon on par with Curly McLain?”
Anthony Slater: “Fewer than 48 hours later, the look of playoff heartbreak still lingered on the face of each Thunder player. The West finals collapse stings now and carries a sour stench that may stick forever. But at Wednesday’s exit interviews, there was a simple solution to brighten the look of any player: Mention the future. Mention the roster. Mention the ascending and now battle-tested young core, which includes a 22-year-old, Steven Adams, who multiple teammates said is already one of the best centers in the NBA.” Keep Reading…
So here are the big things to know from today’s exit interviews:
Sam Amick of USA Today: “When Durant goes back to watch the Western Conference Finals film, he’ll be the first to admit that he could have been better. While he led all scorers in the series (30 points per game), he shot just 42.3% overall (his regular season mark was 50.5%) and 28.6% from three-point range (he was 38.6% during the season). His relentless effort on defense may have played a part, as he used his long arms and underrated speed to frustrate the Warriors at every turn.”
Berry Tramel: “A different Thunder offseason began Tuesday, and not only for the reason you think. Sure, Kevin Durant’s future will consume us all this month of June, and everything else Thunder pales in comparison. Keeping Durant is paramount; everything else is just details. But those details make for an interesting summer. For the first time in forever, the Thunder has no roster holes. No glaring needs. Keep Durant, and the Thunder is loaded.” Keep Reading…
OAKLAND, Calif. — It’s going to take awhile.
Maybe a week. Maybe two. Maybe all summer. Maybe until this time next season. Maybe this time next season only if there’s a different result.
The Thunder put in an effort in Game 7. They started well. They played an excellent first half. They guarded the hell out of the Warriors.
Then the third quarter began. It was everything that makes the Warriors so impossibly hard to beat. Klay Thompson had kept the Warriors close — again — in the first half. And then Steph Curry started shaking loose in the third. The Thunder stopped scoring, and a six-point lead at half turned to an 11-point deficit after three with a 29-12 quarter.
The Thunder pushed back, just enough, getting it to four with 1:40 left as Kevin Durant scored seven straight. The ball got loose on the next trip, with Russell Westbrook diving to wrestle Draymond Green for it. The Warriors were awarded a timeout, and coming out of it, Serge Ibaka was caught on a switch, Curry drew a foul, made all three, and that was pretty much it. Keep Reading…
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 8:00 PM CST
Series tied 3-3
Playoff Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats – out of 16 teams)
Well, this is what we’ve let it come down to. After two chances to take down the defending champs, the series shifts back to Oakland for a final deciding game. And honestly, it is quite apropos. Almost poetic in nature. The Western Conference, especially the top 3 teams, is where the cream of the crop resides in the NBA. Yes, Cleveland lays claim to that title also. But in terms of top heaviness, the Western Conference had no foe. The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs had to battle it out for the right to play against the best regular season team in the history of the NBA. The youth and athleticism of the Thunder outlasted the experience and guile of the Spurs in 6 games. Keep Reading…
Berry Tramel: “OKC won a fortnight ago, stunning Golden State 108-102 at Oracle in Game 1. Then the Thunder won back-to-back routs at Chesapeake Arena. The Thunder still is talking tough. Still expressing belief that it can withstand the historic shooting of the Splash Brothers, Curry and Klay Thompson. But that bravado, false or not, has nothing to do with whether Splash Mountain can be climbed. The Thunder has to traverse these 48 minutes like a haunted house, knowing horrors will attack around every corner. Only the strongest of teams can survive such a setting.”
Anthony Slater: “In this series, Durant has played 45 or more minutes three times. Before this series, he’d only eclipsed that number once all season. By quarter, his percentages dipped from 51 to 49 to 48 to 44 this season. He went 1-of-7 in the fourth on Saturday night. “Our team needs us on the floor,” Durant said, downplaying the fatigue factor. “So we have to fight through it.” That’s quite the Game 7 task for Durant: Fight off the growing exhaustion by fighting through a defensive pest to fight back against a historic team to claim a spot in the NBA Finals.” Keep Reading…