Durant, Thunder left to wonder what went wrong

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Durant, Thunder left to wonder what went wrong

From Comcast SportsNet
MIAMI (AP) -- A week ago, they were leading the NBA Finals. And now, the Oklahoma City Thunder are heading home for the summer to ruminate over lessons doled out by the Miami Heat. Favorites coming into the series, the Thunder fell in Game 5 of the finals Thursday night, as Miami finished off its run to a championship by beating the Thunder 121-106. Oklahoma City's 11-point win in Game 1 is long forgotten and irrelevant now, considering that for the first time in more than three years, the Thunder have lost four straight games. At the absolute worst time, on the absolute biggest stage, no less. "When you play against the best, you learn," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. Kevin Durant had 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points for the Thunder, though Westbrook's night -- one game removed from a 20-for-32 performance from the field -- came on a night where he shot 4 for 20. They came out with 4:44 left, the outcome long decided, the Heat fans going delirious. "We made it to the finals, which was cool for us, but we didn't want to just make it there," Durant said. "Unfortunately we lost, so it's tough. It's tough, man. That's the only way I can explain it. But as a whole, I'm proud of the guys on how we fought all season." James Harden scored 19 points and Derek Fisher added 11 for the Thunder. Down 10 at the half, the Thunder cut the deficit in half by the time the third quarter was a minute old. It was the last gasp of the season -- Miami put the game, and the title, away with a 34-13 burst that pushed the lead to 93-67 on a three-point play by Dwyane Wade with 1:23 left in that pivotal quarter. Mike Miller connected on his sixth 3-pointer of the night, and Miami's 13th, on the first possession of the fourth quarter. Miller would soon add another, for good measure. From that point, the clock wasn't ticking down time left in the game. It was ticking down the time left in Oklahoma City's season. "We know what this feeling feels like," Westbrook said. "We'll remember this feeling, and that will push everybody in the summer, just try to keep everybody going and keep everybody's heads up." The Thunder came in saying they had to have that proverbial Game 7 -- win or else -- mentality. Apparently, they chose else. "You hate to go home and not win the whole thing. ... We lost to a team that played better than us in four of the five games," Brooks said. Even though it was a five-point game after one quarter, a 10-point game at the half and still a two-possession game early in the third quarter, the Thunder simply did not have enough answers for the barrage that came from Miami. Forget Miami's Big Three of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. It was more like a Big Six for the Heat on this night. Two years of work, and a year of frustration after falling to Dallas in the title round a year ago, came pouring out of the Heat. By the time the third quarter was over, Miami had six players in double figures. Oklahoma City? Just two. And that was largely the downfall of Oklahoma City in this series. Durant was consistently great. Westbrook had more good moments than bad, by far. But the third option simply wasn't there, or at least, wasn't there often enough. "The best two teams were in the finals," James said. This Thunder team is built to contend for this title for a long time to come. Durant and Westbrook are already exceptional, and likely nowhere near their prime. Harden was the best sixth man in the league all season, though he struggled big-time in this series. Serge Ibaka is one of the best defenders in the league. The general manager, Sam Presti, is extremely well thought of in just about every league circle. And Oklahoma City has proven itself to be a city that loves its team. More good things for the franchise are certain. But a title -- that wasn't happening, not yet anyway, not against a Heat team that spent a year preparing for this stage. Now, it's Oklahoma City's turn to take a finals loss and use it as motivation. "You get here because you're good. You get here because you're committed to each other," Brooks said. "We definitely have room to improve. That's what the summers are for." Durant spent part of this past summer working out with James in the finals MVP's hometown of Akron, Ohio. He vowed to work even harder this time around. "I'm going to find the positives and the negatives," Durant said. "It was tough losing the finals. We got to the finals, had a tough road to get here. But we've just got to move past it, I guess, man. It's going to hurt for a little bit. We've got to move past it."

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA ANNOUNCES NEW MULTI-PLATFORM SPORTS NEWS FORMAT & PROGRAMMING LINEUP

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NBC SPORTS BAY AREA ANNOUNCES NEW MULTI-PLATFORM SPORTS NEWS FORMAT & PROGRAMMING LINEUP

SportsNet Central News, Scores and Highlight Updates Integrated into

Newly Expanded One-Hour Pregame Live & Postgame Live Shows

and Airing Throughout the Day

 

Beginning April 2, Live SportsNet Central Segments Available Across

NBC Sports Bay Area’s Multiple Platforms

Network Introduces Outsiders and Raw Franchises

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – March 29, 2017 – NBC Sports Bay Area today announced a significant format change to its traditional sports news presentation, designed to provide fans with the latest sports updates on multiple platforms.  In conjunction with the start of the San Francisco Giants’ 2017 MLB season, SportsNet Central segments of 1-2 minutes will be integrated into the Pregame Live and Postgame Live shows and throughout the day across all programming.  The segments will be available on NBC Sports Bay Area, NBCSportsBayArea.com and via the NBC Sports app, beginning April 2.

"The new SportsNet Central represents a modernization of our deep commitment to Bay Area sports news,” said David Koppett, Vice President of Content Strategy for NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.  “This new format will provide fans with the most relevant content on all of their favorite teams with immediacy and frequency, within our signature shows and at all times of day across all platforms and devices."

SportsNet Central moves away from the traditional half-hour format, and will be presented as live 1-2 minute news, scores and highlights updates within the newly expanded one-hour pre- and postgame shows and throughout the day across all NBC Sports Bay Area programming. Game-day shows Giants Pregame Live, Giants Postgame Live, Warriors Pregame Live and Warriors air on NBC Sports Bay Area and are live-streamed on NBCSportsBayArea.com and via the NBC Sports app for NBC Sports Bay Area subscribers. SportsNet Central segments on NBC Sports California and NBCSportsCalifornia.com will be announced at a later date. 

Warriors Outsiders, hosted by former Stanford basketball guard and current Santa Cruz Warriors analyst Drew Shiller and Warriors super fan Grant Liffmann, provides viewers with a fresh take following each Golden State Warriors game with analysis, commentary and basketball analytics – as seen through the lens of the social media universe from a fan’s perspective. Warriors Outsiders is simultaneously synced with Facebook Live to produce a unique conversation via an interactive experience.

NBC Sports Bay Area presents Warriors Raw and Giants Raw, a same-day, condensed version of that day's game. Raw offers viewers highlights of key plays from alternative camera angles, authentic in-game sound and pre- and postgame interviews in an entertaining half-hour format. Warriors Raw will debut on Sunday, April 2 at 9 p.m. following the Warriors-Washington Wizards game.  Giants Raw will premiere on Thursday, April 6 at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area following the Giants-Arizona Diamondbacks game.

Giants & Warriors Game-Day on NBC Sports Bay Area:

The Happy Hour                         (1 hour)

Giants/Warriors Pregame Live    (1 hour)

Giants, Warriors game               (2.5 - 3 hours)

Giants/Warriors Postgame Live   (1 hour)

Warriors Outsiders                     (30 min.)

Warriors/Giants Raw                  (30 min.)

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, both part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, serve more than four million households in Northern California, Nevada, Southern Oregon and Hawaii.  NBC Sports Bay Area, the television home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and the official regional sports network of the San Francisco 49ers, also features a robust lineup of Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and original programming. NBC Sports California offers live coverage of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, NBA’s Sacramento Kings, NHL’s San Jose Sharks, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and is the official regional sports network of the Oakland Raiders. Collectively, these networks deliver more than 600 live game broadcasts per year. 

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 43 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: CSN New England, CSN Philadelphia, TCN, CSN Mid-Atlantic and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, CSN Chicago and CSN Northwest. For additional information, visit comcastsportsnet.com. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

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