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PBT Extra: Big trouble in little Oklahoma City

Apr 30, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

I was among those that before the playoffs picked Oklahoma City to come out of the Western Conference. I knew Memphis was a difficult first-round matchup (there was a reason everyone wanted to avoid them) but I thought their elite scoring would ultimately win out.

Memphis’s defense and discipline have proven to be better… barely. The last four games in this series have gone to overtime. However after Tuesday night the Grizzlies lead 3-2 and are heading home with a chance to close out the series.

In the latest edition of PBT Extra Kay Adams and I focus on what has happened to the favorite Thunder — the shooting struggles of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the lack of a third scorer on offense, and of course a little Joey Crawford talk.

  1. zoomy123 - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Will you people please shut up about the lack of a third scoring option. If OKC lacks a third scoring option, then what are Serge Ibaka, Caron Butler, and Reggie Jackson? We didn’t hear anything about OKC’s lack of a third scoring option all year long but now all of a sudden it’s a big problem? The problem is Kevin Durant choking.

    • gameisours - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      I think you should give more credit to Memphis’ defenders rather than Durant chocking. Or either blame Scott Brooks for being overvalued, because to straight forward… he sucks.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      The problem is their offensive schemes suck.

      • zoomy123 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        I know, it’s not Kevin Durant’s fault for not showing up. It’s Scott Brooks’s fault. The MVP shouldn’t take any responsibility; it’s all coach’s fault. That makes sense.

      • urodaddy07 - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:35 PM

        They simply chuck up too many long jumpers.

    • au1978 - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Good defense will do that to you. And a point guard who wants to be the team’s leading scorer.

      • zoomy123 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Exactly, we can’t expect the MVP to play well against great defense in the playoffs. That’s way too much to ask of the great Kevin Durant. And besides, if you think about it, going 5 for 21 for 15 points in a pivotal game 4 on the road is all that can really be expected.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Ibaka is basically just a pick and popper, Butler is way past his prime, and Jackson is small and inconsistent. When they say “third scoring option” they mean something closer to the level of Durant and Westbrook. They specifically mean that they need James Harden back.

      KD would be given a little more room to operate with a player like Harden on the floor with him and Westbrook – thus less apt to struggle so.

      • zoomy123 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        What? Are you serious? Having Russell Westbrook, another top 10 player, as his partner isn’t enough? KD needs another superstar to win a championship? Jesus Christ, how many excuses can be made for KD? Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, and Caron Butler just combined for 37 points in the last game. That’s not enough?

      • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        Apparently it isn’t enough, zoomy. What do you want me to say? Durant sucks? I’m not going to say that.

        Durant needs more help than Westbrook and Ibaka. Maybe that would’ve been enough for another player, but it’s not enough for Durant.

      • zoomy123 - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Less than a week ago you were comparing KD to Lebron James. Then I pointed out how the comparison isn’t really justified because their playoff resumes aren’t comparable. Now you’re telling me that KD needs more help? I don’t want you to say KD sucks, because he doesn’t, but I want you and everybody else to stop coddling him. Kevin Durant doesn’t need more help; he needs the same treatment Lebron James got, although to a much lesser degree: he needs to be baptized by fire. He needs to fail miserably when there’s no place to lay the blame except at his feet. Once that happens he’ll learn to grow into greatness just like Lebron.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:51 PM

        When have I ever favorably compared KD to LeBron James? You have the wrong guy, bud. I’m no KD coddler.

      • zoomy123 - May 1, 2014 at 4:49 AM

        I’m pretty sure you wrote this comment, “Generally what you’re saying is true, but it doesn’t apply to every athletic team (like Miami) and it wasn’t supposed to apply to the Thunder. Like LeBron James, Durant is expected to be able to transcend these laws by the force of his own will,” on this article:

        Also, any time you claim that a player of Durant’s talent & skill needs more help (another superstar?) to win a championship, then you’re coddling him. You’re not placing the responsibility where it belongs. You’re blaming his lack of help rather than Durant himself.

      • antistratfordian - May 1, 2014 at 6:48 AM

        Saying that Durant needs more help is a criticism of him. Saying that you’re surprised that Durant is down 2-1 in the first round is also a criticism of him. Both statements put the blame on KD because he shouldn’t need more than Westbrook and Ibaka just to get out of the first round.

        So that isn’t a case of Kevin Durant coddling at all.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        Ibaka averaged 15.1 points per game this year and that was with Durant and Westbrook taking so many shots…

        I don’t care if you call him just “a pick and popper”. 15 points a game is 15 points a game and nothing to sneeze at for a 3rd scoring option. Durant at 32 a game, Westbrook at 21.8 and then Ibaka at 15.1 points a game.

        Reggie Jackson, who played in 80 games this season averaged 13.1 points a game as the teams 4th highest scorer.

        That’s 82 points a game just with those four players.

        15.1 and 13.1 points a game is great for a teams 3rd and 4th leading scorer…

        Spurs 3rd and 4th leading scorers this season averaged 12.8 and 12.4 points a game.

        Mavs 3rd and 4th leading scorers this season averaged 11.9 and 11.4 points a game.

        Clippers 3rd and 4th leading scorers this season averaged 18.6 & 16.2 points a game (but, the Clippers top 4 scorers totaled 77.0 points a game to the Thunder’s 82.0 points a game for their top 4 scorers. But on the OTHER hand, when the Thunders top two, or one of them, scorers struggled, their teams 3rd and 4th options weren’t as strong as the Clippers – still, the Thunders 3rd and 4th options were STRONGER than the other top teams so they were better off than other teams with their 3rd and 4th options).

        Warriors 3rd and 4th leading scorers averaged 18.2 points and 9.5 points a game

        Heat 3rd and 4th leading scorers averaged 16.2 and 9.8 points a game.

        CLEARLY, compared to the other top teams, the Thunder DO NOT have an issue with their 3rd and 4th scorers on their team…

        And keep in mind that the Thunders #1 scoring option was one of the MOST efficient scorers in the league besides leading the league in scoring.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        15 point averages are not all created equal. Ibaka simply isn’t as threatening as a scorer as someone like James Harden, regardless of his scoring average. Same with Jackson.

        Defenses don’t have to account for Ibaka and Jackson as much as Harden. There is the practical psychological impact that you’re not considering – how defenders are simply more aware of a talented and dynamic scorer like James Harden – cheating towards him, keeping an eye on him. Ibaka and Jackson aren’t going to manipulate defenders as much as someone like Harden, etc.

        And if defenses accounted for Ibaka like they did with Harden (treating him basically like a #1 option sometimes when he was on the Thunder), he wouldn’t be averaging 15 points a game.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        Ibaka can punch in the ball sac well.

  2. phillysports1 - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    I picked Memphis in 7 games before series started. Lets see how that plays out

  3. csbanter - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Russell Westbrook is holding this team back. The Thunder should consider a Rondo swap for him, or just give the keys to Reggie Jackson. Think about what they could get back for Westbrook.

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      maybe almost as much as they got for Harden?

  4. nfl4days - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    KD has absolutely been playing sub-par these playoffs. Now, I’m not saying he’s completely tanked like Kwame Hibbert, but being that he is gonna be the MVP he has to elevate his game now. It doesn’t look good collecting your MVP trophy AFTER you’ve been knocked out of the playoffs in round one.

    • nfl4days - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      Just to be clear, sub-par for KD is still very good, but still sub-par none the less.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        He hasn’t been very good either.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      It wouldn’t be the first time. KD didn’t deserve MVP anyway – for the same reasons he’s not playing well now. KD doesn’t have the ability to do all of the great and versatile things that LeBron does for his team on a nightly basis.

      • kanemoney - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        It’s tough to compare Miami to OKC, since Miami is comprised of 3 top 20 players who collectively took pay cuts to play together, along with their pick of veterans willing to play for the minimum.

        However, we can compare Durant to Lebron in Cleveland for a fairer comparison. Both teams had fairly good defenders and relied heavily on the superstar for their scoring, especially in the clutch. Lebron was overall the better scorer, but was too hesitant to take the final shot.

        KD is willing to take the final shot (and miss it often), however doesn’t do as much to get his team involved.

        In my mind, it’s a fairly nit-picky process to try to seperate them.

        I think what it comes down to is that the Western Conference is really really really good. 4 of the 5 games have gone to OT. That’s crazy! Memphis is a very good team that matches up well against them.

        As with Lebron, it will come down to how KD responds with his back against the wall. This will certainly be a defining game 6 for his legacy.

    • hehateme2 - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      LeBron is the MVP!

  5. theebadguy - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    They will never win a title with Russ and Durant

    • ranfan12 - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Not with their current way of playing they wont. They almost had it, but I don’t think it was their fault lebron stomped them out. He does that to about everyone

  6. rrhoe - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Until OKC gets a complimentary shooting guard,he doesn’t have to be a star either,but someone that teams have to respect on the offensive end,they are gonna struggle. And they need more from Kendrick Perkins than just a menacing look.

  7. aboogy123456 - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    If Westbrook played smart then he would be better than Durant, he’s just that good. I think a lot of the hate towards him is deserved, but people overlook the fact that Durant and Brooks aren’t helping him at all. Durant too often has just been standing behind the three point line and watching westbrook, and that is easy to guard, he’s not doing enough to make westbrook better, so westbook is forced to create on his own too often.

    As for Brooks, a coach’s job is to find a way to have their players work off each other so the defense has to account for both of them. He’s not doing that, his offense is just setting a pick for either westbrook or durant and so the defense only has to worry about one of them on each play. I think they have the talent to win it all, but they need to find a way to get the most out of their talent.

  8. bballhistorian - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    In addition, 2 things are holding Durant back from the next level:

    1. Need to develop a post game, but most important

    2. Need to Bulk up.

    As long as KD doesnt bulk up, stronger players like Tony Allen, LeBron will continue to wear him down. Even MJ had to bulk up at one point while he was losing to the Bad Boys due to the phyical punishment he was taking.

    • davidly - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      After every practice he should down a tub of mashed potatoes and anabolic gravy and run wind-sprints in ankle weights and juggling a medicine ball.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      He’s never going to bulk up if he hasn’t done it by now. He’s always going to be somewhat skinny.

  9. bballhistorian - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Im sure Scott Brooks will lose his job if they lose this series….just like Frank Vogel will lose his once his Pacers lose in the 1st round.

  10. davidly - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Y’all funny.

  11. jerdogthompson - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    What better storyline than to have Memphis face the Clippers in the 2nd round?

    Revenge from last years defeat. This should be fun.


    • unxpexted1 - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      careful what you wish for

  12. azarkhan - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Durant is not a choker and OKC would be crazy to trade Westbrook. Both are top 10 NBA players and both are only 25 years old. As for those who predict OKC will never win a title with Westbrook, if you can foresee the future then tell us what the winning Powerball numbers will be next week. Oh, and btw, the series isn’t over.

    • spursareold - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Westbrick is overrated. He stuffed the stat line last night, but shot WAY too many times. He’s talented, but not smart.

  13. jzone954 - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Most of this forum is filled with hypocrites like non other, had this been Lebron and the Heat down 3-2 on the brink most of you would be laughing , hoping….but KD and the thunder seem to be getting every excuse in the book from coaching, to his point guard play. lol. I hope Kevin and the thunder well and that they actually can come back and get out of this round.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      Sounds like you’re lying.

  14. ranfan12 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    OKC needs one more player to hold it down or they are going back to seattle lol

  15. balfe13 - Apr 30, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Karma. Seattle is laughing at the Zombie Sonics.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      And bowing down to the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. Signed, fan of the 49ers.

  16. void96eater - Apr 30, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    Good gravy!

    There is a legitimate chance that two 1 seeds will be taken out by two 8 seeds.

    • kanemoney - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      OKC is not the #1 seed FYI. And the Spurs are up 3-2 in their series (although they could lose in 7 games)…

      • void96eater - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        Oops. My mistake. A 7 seed beating a 2 seed is still a significant upset though, and San Antonio has to win game 5.

  17. soopreme - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Can we officially start calling Westbrook KOBE JR.?

    • theebadguy - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Kobe has 5 rings pal. Gimme a break

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:11 PM


      • bkbell3 - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Kobe’s my guy but stop with the rings when comparing players talent. Rings are about coaching,organizations,luck in the draft and in trades and staying healthy or having other teams not be healthy and money etc. Westbrook’s problem is his jump shot is flawed and inconsistent because he shoots it on the way down and goes up to tight and forceful and loses touch. If he could shoot a better % on jumpers he becomes unstoppable with his quickness. im an Durant both need to get a post game to take advantage of their length and in westbrook’s case his strength. Also a better coach.

  18. jimeejohnson - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    How f+cked up are the Knicks for letting Zach Randolph get away.

    • bkbell3 - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Back then people thought he was a bad guy and that he was a black hole with the ball. Then he goes to Memphis and get warm and fuzzy and continues to be a 20-10 guy. It helps that he is somewhat hidden on defense by a great scheme and really good defenders.

      • bkbell3 - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        The Knicks,who are my team, Also gave away David Lee also who has been great for golden state.

  19. cantonb0und13 - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Why do people continue to love Durant sooooo much??? I don’t know understand why everyone has a man crush for Durant… He been awful for TWO STRAIGHT POSTSEASON! He admitted that T. Allen is getting into his head… Really “MVP?” honestly can’t stand Durant. This dude had bunch of talent since day one of his career. Stop making excuses.

    • unxpexted1 - May 1, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      It’s not about having talent, its the type of talent. Its just very clear that him and RW do not compliment each other well. If somebody doesn’t reel westbrook in a little bit this will always be a problem.

      But it does say something about KD that he sorts of mentally checks out when Westbrook is doing his thing.

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