Four out of five folks. Four. Out of five. Remember that whole “worst team ever” talk? Good times.
SLAM is looking for a nickname for KD. I thought we all kind settled on Durantula or Kid Declious: “We asked Kevin Durant himself if he has any nicknames, and all he could come up with is “KSmoove.” It’s absurdities like that which got us into the nickname business in the first place. Here’s a player with as much pure offensive talent as anyone to come into the League this millennium, as he showed most recently in the Rookie-Sophomore Game. Obviously, this guy needs a nickname that honors his abilities—and he’s on record as asking us for one. Kevin needs your help. Whoever has the best nickname will win a dope prize from the SLAM vault and get their name in Trash Talk next month.”
FanHouse doing lines: “Philadelphia shot below 40% … against the Thunder. OKC’s locksmith line-up — Kyle Weaver, Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha — conspired to wreck the 76er attack, and Sefolosha is looking like he just might be the best player traded near the deadline this season.”
The Scores Report put together the top 68 worst contracts in the NBA. OKC had just one (Nick Collison who hecked in at No. 33 in the “Overpaid Role Players” category: “In most cases, I don’t blame the player himself for his outrageous contract. The fault lies with the general manager that inked the guy to the deal. However, this rule goes out the window if the player has a history of only producing in his contract year – I’m looking at you, Tim Thomas.)”
As Joe mentioned in his recap, Malik Rose was on NBA TV’s arena link and had some pretty interested things to say. Man I like that guy. I kind of want him back next year.
Basketbawful worst of the weekend: “Philadelphia 76ers: The world has been flipped on its ear. Night has become day. Black has become white. Tastes great has become less filling. The hot side has become cool, and the cool side has become hot. And admist all this chaos, the Oklahoma City Thunder have become unbeatable. They’ve won four of five despite the continuing absence of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. They’re just the team’s two leading scorers. No big. Meanwhile, the Sixers are reeling. They’ve lost seven of 10 games since the All-Star break, and they looked like a special needs team in Oklahoma City. Their shooting eye must have had a detatched retina (39 percent) and their fingers were covered with Teflon (21 turnovers to only 9 assists). Furthermore, the Sixers got held to their second-lowest scoring total of the season (74). And that just so happened to be the fewest points allowed by the Thunder all season. Their run and fun has become shuffle and moan.”
Marc Stein’s power rankings: “Only one problem with all slobbering here and elsewhere about the Durant we saw last month: OKC is 4-1 without him, after going 3-9 in February, having held the opposition to 92 points or fewer in all four Ws.”
BDL Behind the Box Score: “Oklahoma City really came through with a strong defensive effort, this team knows what it has to do in Kevin Durant and Jeff Green’s absence, it made a point to pack the lane defensively, and to move toward the lane itself offensively. Very impressive run from this crew, Scotty Brooks is doing a hell of a job. And Malik Rose (14 points, seven rebounds, three turnovers, two steals) continues to play tremendous basketball for the Thunder. We didn’t even think of him as a possible buyout candidate because no team, seemingly, would sign him up for the playoff stretch. And yet, he’s played the best ball of any of the guys who were cut and signed after the trade deadline. Good on him.”
From Elias: “Kevin Durant averaged 30.6 points per game in February, when the Thunder lost nine of 12 games. But with Durant sidelined with a sprained ankle, Oklahoma City has posted a 4-1 record, including Sunday’s 89-74 win over the 76ers, and that score suggests the reason: The Thunder allowed an average of 104.8 points per 48 minutes with Durant on the floor, 9.0 points more than their average without him (95.8 per 48).”
Sean Deveney talking 2009 Draft: “No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona. The Thunder are a big man away from completing a pretty fearsome young starting five, and Hill would be an ideal fit. Hill has had the breakout year that scouts were expecting, averaging 18.4 points and 11.1 rebounds. He can hit the boards, block shots and score when needed, the kind of guy Oklahoma City needs.”
Darnell Mayberry has a feeling Jeff Green will be back against Sacto: “In other injury-related news, Jeff Green (sore back) is starting to look better and he could be upgraded to probable for Tuesday’s game at Sacramento. He was joking around and horse-playing with teammates before tonight’s game, showing no signs of having an injured back. My guess is he returns to the lineup against the Kings.”
And fan voting for the Ultimate Fan contest is open on the team website. Tough choice there because I really like Thunderhead and Brick Man, but I went with Zorgon. Vote for him. Do it: “I may not have the most creative costume, and I am indeed the ugliest contestant out there, but I put as much energy and passion I can into my cheering every single night. I never cuss, and always try to create a positive atmosphere that the whole family can enjoy. If someone else wins, then C’est La Vie, but I’d really, really, really, really love to win. If you vote for me and say so, I can give you a personal message about how awesome you are. Or something. Anyway, thanks a lot to those who vote for me!”