On the NBA Beat Ep. 36a: Mangiaracina: Thunder “Need Roberson Out There to Stop Klay” in Game 7 vs. Warriors

Despite Oklahoma City’s Game 6 collapse and squandering of a 3-1 series lead, Welcome to Loud City’s Marina Mangiaracina explains why the Thunder stand a legitimate chance of upsetting the mighty Golden State Warriors in a decisive Game 7. Her prescription? Lots of minor adjustments, which include extra shots for Dion Waiters and Serge Ibaka, smarter defensive switching and Andre Roberson logging more court time to help counteract Klay Thompson’s explosive scoring. Below are some noteworthy excerpts:

1:59 –2:26: “I think the No. 1 key is getting more shots for Serge Ibaka and Dion Waiters. Waiters had about the same amount of shots (in Game 6) – five or six – that (Andre) Roberson and (Steven) Adams had, and given his offensive abilities, it’s an embarrassment that he’s getting so few opportunities…(Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook were just taking too many bad shots. When you move the ball around more, it helps out.”

4:06 –4:48: “There was tons of personal adversity for this team in this calendar year of 2016. Mo Cheeks had to go away from the bench due to hip surgery, the wife of Monty Williams was killed in a car accident and Monty Williams had to leave the team, the young brother of Dion Waiters was killed in a violent shooting in Philadelphia, Aubrey McClendon, the 20 percent owner of the team, died in a single-car crash…You could kind of see how they all rallied together and galvanized each other.”

7:47 –9:04: “Billy Donovan just came into this coaching job with the right mindset…He really came in with an open mind and realized that he needed to learn a whole new profession from entirely different people. And his work ethic was amazing – he watched two seasons of Thunder basketball before he even came into the job, literally every single game. He toned down his demeanor – he’s not as intense as he was in college – he’s constantly revealing new plays, and he toned down the complexity of his offense once the players weren’t getting it…As far as using the regular season as a lab, literally every single player that could have possibly contributed got minutes. He toned down the minutes for Westbrook and Durant during the regular season, keeping them fresh for the playoffs. He tried wacky lineups with multiple point guards, centers…He just really has been one of the best success stories of the season as a head coach.”

11:03-11:21: “I think that (foul trouble) is the only reason that (Anthony) Morrow got extended minutes is because Roberson was out of the game. And we really need to keep Roberson out of foul trouble. We really need to keep him in the game as long as we can just to get that defense on Klay (Thompson) because he’s the only defender that has the length and energy to do that.”

13:00-13:35: “He (Waiters) kind of came into his own during the playoffs, because he’s focused primarily on defense, and that really works against the Warriors. He’s a great defender in one-on-one situations, because he’s so low to the ground, he’s so stout, he doesn’t give room and can really get into players physically…I also think that he has a lot of confidence when he shoots. Beyond Durant and Westbrook, I think he’s the best end-of-game shot maker. He has a really high percentage in clutch situations when he’s given space.”

16:49-17:15: “He’s (Draymond Green’s) not at his highest level against the Thunder, because KD’s just so long, and whenever Green has to match up against KD, it’s a problem. But Green isn’t matched up against KD a lot, and I think there’s definitely opportunities for him to get open 3-pointers, and if his shot’s on, then that opens up things for him driving to the basket because he’s skilled that way. Adams is a good rim protector, but I think he’ll (Green will) get his in Game 7. I don’t think we’ve had anything figured out against him.”



PREDICTION: The Thunder steal Game 7  

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod