Thunder (21-56, 7-30 road) at Denver Nuggets (52-26, 31-8 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma HD (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 8:00 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 102.8 (29th), Denver: 110.4 (6th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.6 (20th), Denver: 106.5 (8th)
Pace:Thunder: 93.4 (8th), Denver: 92.4 (7th)
Another stop in the Thunder’s crawl to the finish line.
The effort was absolutely better against the Spurs, but as I pointed out in the Bolts today, Kevin Durant has got to assert himself sometimes. He took only two shots in the fourth quarter and one was a forced three-pointer with 50 seconds left. Jeff Green didn’t score in the fourth. Those are the two main parts of your offense and you get two points in the most important minutes. That’s a bit disturbing.
KD has to want to be The Man. He has every tool to do it. It’s just whether or not he wants to stand there and wait for his number to get called, or if he wants to take the freaking thing over. Like I said, you think Kobe is standing there running motion offense and waiting for Derek Fisher to set him up? You think LeBron is just going to wait his turn? Some of the blame falls on Russell Westbrook and the other guys running point for not making it a point to give KD the ball. But in crunch time, you’ve got to rely on your big guns. Those being primarily KD and Uncle Jeff. The Thunder plays best as a full unit, but when something ain’t working and the game’s slipping away, go with the guy who is the best at basketball.
Denver is an excellent home team that is focused right now on claiming the two-seed in the West. They’ve won seven straight and are one of the best home teams in the league. I can’t picture them coming out flat and letting the Thunder sneak up on them. And while I realize that losses don’t do anything but help at this point, I still want to win. I’d much rather sacrafice a couple ping-pongs balls for a an excellent win on the road in Denver. It may seem meaningless, but I think you can carry some major momentum into the offseason with a win like that. Maybe that’s just me, but don’t worry too much anyway because it’s likely not going to happen.
As we saw last night, I think Scott Brooks is using these last couple games to try different things. He’s giving Kyle Weaver time at the point, D.J. White good minutes at the four and five and overall, just different combinations. Some of those pairings can be a bit frustrating, but in the long run, it’s probably for the best to try them out. I would like to see Shaun Livingston get major minutes at the point though and let Weaver play off the ball tonight. They did the opposite last night for mixed results.
I think the team may be wearing down a bit mentally and physically as the season winds up. Tired legs and tired minds might make for an ugly game tonight. Plus, potentially comical lineup combinations. Let’s see… let’s try Weaver, Green, Livingston, Durant and Thabo – in that order. Hey, got to try them out somewhere and what better time then when you’ve got nothing to play for except pride and ping-pong balls.
Tip at 8:00 CST. Go Rumble Thunders.