Because of some duties in fulfilling my requirement in being an American male, I chose to watch the Super Bowl yesterday and not write a recap of the game. And like I told my wife, had we won, I probably would have happily skipped into the office to crank out 800 words, but because of the outcome, I thought using the Super Bowl would be a good excuse to just ignore a really disappointing loss. But here’s all you need to know: Durant, Westbrook, Green = good (95 points). Rest of team = not good (23 points). Well, Nick Collison had a nice game, but geez, what a stinky loss. Although, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “make the first, miss the second and get a tip-in” work live and I was impressed with Jeff Green’s execution there. Anyway, to the Bolts…
The Durant v. Oden debate is finally able to gain some traction: “Fair or not, Oden and Durant are destined to be linked in history. Like Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, without the gunfire. And a look back at the 1984 draft offers both worst-case and best-case scenarios. Oden and Durant could be remembered as Michael Jordan and Sam Bowie, as a mismatch of a comparison that highlights Portland’s blundering. Or they could be remembered as Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, who combined for eight championships, eight Finals MVP awards, and six regular-season MVPs.”
Le Basketbawl’s midseason report: “We now know that the Thunder will not have the worst record in the history of the Association. Scott Brooks while an improvement over P.J. still has not shown that he is more than an interim coach.”
Hardwood Paroxysm sums up yesterday’s game pretty nicely: “The Definition of Awesome Futility: Kevin Durant; 33PTS 5 RB, 2 AS, 1 BL, Russell Westbrook; 34 PTS 6 RB 8 AS 1 ST, Jeff Green; 28 PTS, 13 RBS 5 AS 3 ST. And they lost.”
BDL Behind the Box Score: Timed up against a Cavaliers/Pistons game on national TV, this contest between two of the NBA’s worst teams was blacked out on the dish, and I gotta say, I’m a little cheesed off. Blackouts are something we have to live with every Sunday afternoon; they’re all over the pace as the NBA wants all basketball-watching eyes on what’s happening on the major network of its choice, but an overtime close one with 240 combined points? I’d like to know how, and why? Even the gamer is a little messed-up. Kevin Martin had 37 points on 24 shots, turning it over only twice in 49 minutes of play (that’s a tremendous accomplishment), Jeff Green had 28 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, one turnover, and three steals for Oklahoma City, and Thunder rookie Russell Westbrook got to the line 22 times (making 20), helping to overcome seven of 18 shooting and five turnovers. He had eight assists, and all six of his rebounds were on the offensive end.
Chris Bosh wants out of Toronto. I wonder… nah: “According to Stephen A. Smith in the video above, Bosh has “no desire to remain in Toronto.” In fact, CB4 already told Bryan Colangelothat he won’t re-sign. Thus, Colangelo is reportedly starting to explore trade options for Bosh, and Dallas and Miami are figuring to be big players in the Bosh sweepstakes.”
Fanhouse on Russell’s career-high performance: “But whatever: Russell Westbrook was insane in this one, scoring a career-high 34 points while getting to the line for 22 FTAs. Most of his work came slicing through and stuttering in the lane — very crafty work. On the other side, Kevin Martinput up 37 points on 24 FGAs in the Sacramento win.”
Get ready for Thor or ThUnderdog or Cumlonimbus the Mean Looking Cloud or Bolt maybe (just get Usain Bolt?) or Gary England. A mascot is coming this month (likely against the Hornets). Let’s pray for a non-embarrassment: “Team officials have chosen the yet-to-be-announced character and have completed the costume design but still have to iron out minor details, such as NBA marketing. According to Brian Byrnes, vice president of ticket sales and services, the mascot will be athletic, similar to Benny the Bull in Chicago and the Gorilla in Phoenix. The mascot will be capable of dropping from the Ford Center ceiling, tightrope a rail in Loud City and trampoline with the dunk team.”
Yes, I’m still complaining about Kevin Durant’s All-Star snub. And so is this guy: “Yes, the 11 wins is tough to reward, but last season’s Rookie of the Year has improved his numbers across the board, in particular in his shooting accuracy. A 43 percent shooter a year ago, Durant is connecting on 47.2 percent of his attempts this season, an impressive jump until you consider he has raised his three-point mark from 28.8 percent to 42.1 percent this year. The hype outpaced the performance last year, but he has become a multitalented threat this season, and the kind you just want to see in the playground atmosphere of the All-Star Game.”
Some interesting stuff from Elias: “Russell Westbrook scored 34 points, including 20 from the foul line, in the Thunder’s 122-118 overtime loss at Sacramento. Only three other rookies in NBA history made as many as 20 free throws in one game: Frank Selvy in 1954 (24), Rick Barry in 1965 (21), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970 (20). Westbrook’s teammate, Kevin Durant, scored 33 points in Oklahoma City’s loss. Over the nine seasons previous to this one, no rookie and second-year player both scored more than 30 points for the same team in the same game. But Westbrook and Durant were the second pair to do so in the last nine days. Eric Gordon (41 points) and Al Thornton (34) did it for the Clippers against the Thunder on January 23.”
And lastly, how about we all pause a moment to enjoy Willie Warren’s unbelievable, incredible, awesome (baby!) posterization of some Iowa State stiff. I swear it looks like he hits his peak, and then rises like five more inches. What a dunk. Yeah, I think the Thunder could use him along with Blake too.