Vote for the Thunder! Oklahoma City won a Fan Night vote to be featured on NBA TV against the Lakers this week and can you believe it, the Thunder’s leading again. And this is for next Tuesday’s game against the Kings. The people are being heard - they want to see more Thunder. I find this very cool.
A little blurb from NBA.com: “The kids put a serious scare into the champs Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. The Lakers needed overtime and an extra push late from an ailing Kobe Bryant to beat the Thunder in overtime. As much as the loss stung — Kevin Durant was as down as he’s ever been after the loss — the Thunder’s 2-2 start is turning some heads. Even in Oklahoma City’s two losses, the league’s second-youngest team took a pair of Western Conference heavyweights (Portland was the other) to the wire.”
Blake Griffin: “thunder gave the lakers all they wanted last night (pause). Kevin Durant is gonna lead the league in scoring one day… watch.”
Sam Presti talks to Kevin McHale and Chris Webber via arena link. Some good stuff about Presti’s drumming skills in there.
Ime Udoka signs with Sacramento and it appears Desmond Mason is in danger of being cut: “That shooting percentage is especially alarming if you could get your hands on a Desmond Mason shot chart, as most of his misses came from close range and he has struggled mightily to finish even the easiest of looks. All of this, I’m being told, doesn’t bode well for Mason considering all signs point to the Maloofs preferring not to have a 15-man roster (they have 15 now). And as a reminder, it looked like Andres Nocioni was going to be taking Mason’s spot in the starting lineup tonight even before Udoka was added.”
Tonight is the D-League draft. You can watch it on NBA TV tonight.
Dime’s Austin Burton is backing off his Russell Westbrook love for now: “Four games into the new season, though, it’s looking like this may not be the year Westbrook becomes a star. Just like a lot of analysts were putting expectations on the Thunder that might have been too high, I may have given OKC’s point guard a little too much, too soon. Westbrook’s rebounding, assist and field-goal shooting numbers are up from last year through this first week, his scoring is only slightly down, but it goes beyond the stats. In OKC’s last two games — a loss to Portland that was close well into the fourth quarter, and last night’s overtime loss to the Lakers, both at home — Westbrook has hurt more than helped in crunch time. He’s also been a turnover machine. He gave it up six times to L.A., and had nine turnovers against the Blazers; not to mention a five-turnover effort in a win at Detroit.”
A little old, but someone posted this in the comments and it needs attention – Robert Swift’s basketball career lives on: “Robert Swift spent countless hours honing his skills on the basketball courts of Bakersfield. A two-time Californian All-Area Player of the Year at Garces and Bakersfield high schools, Swift was one of the few phenoms to make the leap from preps to the NBA. Now, the 7-foot center will return to his hometown for a chance at redemption, and possibly a return to the NBA. Swift joins guard/forward Justin Hawkins as one of two players allocated to the Jam by the D-League on Tuesday.”
Jenni Carlson, well, being Jenni Carlson. She’s critical of Kevin Durant’s last two games in this video and says OKC is giving him an IOU. I’m witholding comment.
David Thorpe’s rooking rankings came out yesterday and James Harden sits at 11th.
Harden doesn’t make SI’s top 10. Even though Harden has just one turnover to 13 assists in 65 minutes played so far this season. People are hung on his scoring numbers being down, but aren’t realizing he’s doing a lot of good things on the court.
Britt Robson of SI on the Thunder: “I know point guards are supposed to be distributors first, and that go-to scorers have to keep the faith through cold spells, but Chris Paul needs to shoot more and Kevin Durant has to chuck it up less frequently. Paul is shooting a ridiculous 65.6 percent (and 81.8 percent from three-point range) in four games, but the Hornets have started 1-3 because his teammates are clanking for a combined 42 percent. Durant’s Thunder might be undefeated if he hadn’t destroyed the rims for 3-of-21 shooting without registering an assist in Sunday’s loss to Portland. I don’t begrudge Durant his gifts — he had only two turnovers and got to the line 28 times in Oklahoma City’s first three games — and his improved defense is one reason the Thunder are holding teams below 40 percent from the field. But Durant was shooting below 42 percent before his Sunday clankfest, and with second and third options Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook hitting half their shots (38-of-76), a little less gunnery is in order. By the way, Oklahoma City’s signing of defensive-minded swingman Thabo Sefolosha to an extension is further proof that general manager Sam Presti and his crew know how to build a franchise. Sefolosha was the first player this season to contain Portland’s Brandon Roy, holding him to 5-of-17 shooting and just seven free throws on Sunday.”