Tahlequah Daily Press

Thunder/NBA

May 14, 2013

Thunder Wrap-up

The TDP's Kolby Paxton breaks down Game 4 between OKC and Memphis.

(Continued)

2. Not to pile on, but...

Reggie Jackson guarded Mike Conley nearly exclusively in Game 3, correct? And Conley managed just three field goals, am I right? So... Why make the unnecessary and unwarranted decision to switch Thabo Sefolosha onto Conley for Game 4? I realize Sefolosha made a career as a premier perimeter defender, but it’s pretty apparent to everyone not wearing a suit on the Thunder bench that his best days are behind him.

James Harden torched Sefolosha. Chandler Parsons torched Sefolosha. As for Conley? You guessed it. I guarded him with more success in the Springdale Youth Center league than Thabo did last night — particularly early — as all 24 of his points came with No. 2 in blue attempting to mark him.

3. “I Got You Babe”

You know that scene in the “Groundhog Day” when Bill Murray finally just concedes his fate? Rather than fight it, he just embraces his circumstances, content to simply accept the bizarre hand of which he’s been dealt. It perfectly captures my approach to this team in these playoffs.

Durant is going to carry the team, garnering sporadic contributions from some combination of Derek Fisher, Jackson and/or Kevin Martin. Ibaka is going to disappear for vast stretches of time. The opponent will make a run. Durant will run out of gas. Perkins will fumble and stumble and foul and growl. Eventually, without Westbrook there to assert himself, OKC will run out of options and run out of time. Rinse, repeat.

It was over when... Fisher tossed an inbounds pass to Tony Allen — who does not play on Fisher’s team — with 21.1 seconds left. Gasol extended the lead with a freebie, Durant missed a desperation three, and Sonny and Cher rang out once again as the alarm clock struck 6:00.

Stat of the night: In games three and four, Durant has shot 55 percent in quarters 1-3, but just 3-for-17 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Quote of the night: “The variation of what Oklahoma City and Scott Brooks are doing in late game situations has not changed. So all of a sudden they’re easy and they get predictable. And they’re making it difficult for (Kevin Durant)” — Kenny Smith.

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