I went and saw Gran Torino tonight (which was excellent, by the way) and didn’t watch the game. So sue me.
Evidently, I missed a good one. I’m just doing a box score drive-by and here’s a few quick ruminations:
1. No Chris Wilcox, no Damien Wilkins. Woo and woo. I like Joe’s theory at Thunderguru — holding Wilcox out so not to risk injury seems very plausible. Holding Wilkins out because OKC would be better off letting me hoist stupid jumpers seems very smart.
2. I listened to the first quarter on the radio, but one thing was pretty eye… er, ear-catching. The Rockets didn’t make a field goal until three minutes left in the first quarter. Yet the most they ever trailed in that quarter was by seven. Incredible.
3. What’s the deal with Robert Swift? Obviously, he’s just a token starter. He’s been in the first five the past six games, but the most minutes he’s played has been 21. Tonight he played just 10. Are they trying to slowly — and I mean slowly — work him back into game shape? Or are they trying to keep him somewhat happy so that they can make a decision on whether to bring him back next year? Or is he just biding time until Krispy Nads is ready to take over full-time? I think I found my answer.
4. Speaking of Krispy, judging by the box score, it looks like he’s adjusting decently back to the NBA game. But on the radio in the first quarter, I heard him make a major mental boo-boo. The Thunder had the ball with two seconds on the 24 and the ball went in two Krstic and he was totally clueless and swung the ball to Russell Westbrook. I’ll just cut him some slack and chalk it up to being rusty, even though you could not play basketball in 45 years and have enough court awareness to look at the shot clock, especially when there’s two seconds on it. But hey guys, come on… he’s new.
5. Twenty-two turnovers? Seven by Kevin Durant? Geez.
6. I really wasn’t aware Earl Watson was rehabbing a bum thumb for the first two months of the season and since he’s been “healthy” he has been better. I’ll give him that. But I only feel about .001 percent bad for all the ragging on him I’ve done. He’s shooting better but he still takes too many “No, no, no, NO, NOOO!!!” jumpshots. And I think I like Kyle Weaver as Russell’s backup more anyway.
7. When I have about two hours that I need to completely flush, I’ll do research on this, but how many games has Oklahoma City lost this year while outshooting its opponents? I feel like this has happened a decent amount under Scott Brooks. Tonight, the Thunder shot 48 percent from the field while Houston shot 46. And on top of it, OKC took seven more shots! The difference was at the free throw line where Houston took 15 more and made 11 more than the Thunder.
8. Seriously, you look at that stat line and you’ve got to think OKC won. 44-31 in rebounds. 48-46 in field goal percentage. OKC made four threes, Houston made five. OKC had six steals, Houston had… oh, I see. Houston had 14 steals. And 21 points off 22 Thunder turnovers.
9. Nice lines though by Westbrook and Durant though. KD continues to be one of the best scorers in the league, notching 27, but his game is becoming full. Six rebounds and five assists to go with the points is nice. Westbrook put up 15, six and six. Is it just me or does anyone think that’s going to be his consistent line for pretty much the rest of his career? He just screams 15, six and six to me.
10. I’m not really a moral victories kind of guy, but I don’t really have a problem with some of these losses. The team is playing contenders extremely well, but there’s just clearly one or two little, tiny things missing or these would be wins. And I fully expect that to be corrected by next year. So imagine all these under six-point losses Scott Brooks has piled up and make them wins. We’d be looking at a 13-24 record just on that alone instead of 5-32. Tack on more experience for the youngsters, more skills developing and maybe an added piece here or there and I think at this point next year we could see a 20-17 record. Is that crazy? Yeah, probably.