UPDATE: I guested on the Thunder Madness’s podcast this week. Listen to it. And subscribe if you see fit.
Nice story from Darnell Mayberry on Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant: ”Durant wanted to reach out to Michael Beasley, but what would he say? The Thunder’s star had never been admitted into a rehabilitation center as Beasley was in mid-August, never felt like it’s not worth living and never got so frustrated that he needed to publicly declare that the world was against him. “I didn’t want to be the guy that said the same things everybody else had said,” Durant said. “So I just prayed for him. That’s all I could do because I didn’t know what to tell him.”
Power rankings time. Marc Stein has OKC at 13, up one spot: “OKC’s defense/length/athleticism seen in San Antonio suggest this team can handle seven roadies in nine games just fine . . . except that it bookended that win with an L in Sacramento and a home L to the Clips.”
Up one spot in SI’s power rankings to 15: “The Thunder were worried about how they would perform against the NBA’s elite early in the season. They should have been worried about the league’s lesser lights. OKC owns victories against San Antonio and Orlando but also has bad losses to the Clippers and Kings. “We need to play better defense, especially in the fourth quarter,” center Nenad Krstic said. “We also need to rebound better with all five guys going for the rebound.”
Dime has OKC at 20: “A road win against fully-healthy San Antonio was supposed to be a big statement, but then OKC turned around and dropped one to the Clippers at home.”
Down on spot to 16 on NBA.com: “The Thunder are the most improved defensive team in the league, but they’re still dealing with the inconsistency of their young roster, particularly Russell Westbrook. He was terrific in a win over the Spurs, but shot 9-for-41 in his other three games last week.”
HoopsWorld has OKC at 15: “The Thunder are young an inconsistent but they’re dangerous. The big question in Oklahoma City is whether or not Russell Westbrook is a point guard. While his 7.6 assists a game suggest that’s the case, he’s got to work on turnovers (3.7).”
All Star tickets go on sale today. And with the game being just a few hours away, maybe some Okies will make the trip.
Sad news for an Oklahoman: Kelenna Azubuike’s season is over.
Buffalo Wild Wings is hosting a Thunder watch party tomorrow night: “The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today its first official watch party of the season, presented by Budweiser, will be on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at Buffalo Wild Wings on N.W. Expressway beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Thunder will take on the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on KSBI Thunder TV (Cox Ch. 15, HD 715). The event is free, open to the public and will feature giveaways including shirts, tickets and a chance win a trip to see the Thunder take on the Celtics in Boston on March 31. In addition, there will be appearances by the Thunder Girls and Rumble. Fans will also enjoy drink specials and 50-cent wing legs throughout the night. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m., with tipoff in Orlando set for 6 p.m. CT. Buffalo Wild Wings is located at 4130 N.W. Expressway in Oklahoma City.”
Scott Brooks on the team’s first 10 games: “I wouldn’t use the word happy, but I like what we’ve done,” Brooks said. “We went into training camp and focused on defense, and I see that being pretty consistent…And guys are giving effort. I can’t complain about the effort.”
Charley Rosen on the Thunder: “They lost the game because of a bad beginning and a bad ending. If their victory in San Antonio was a sign of the kind of positive potential that this young team has, the painful loss to the Clippers showed that, although the Thunder have come a long way in the past two seasons, they’ve still got a long way to go.”
Susan Bible writing on Kevin Ollie: “Westbrook and Ollie have already developed a special relationship based on mutual respect. “I’ve learned from him and he’s learned from me. I that’s the big thing, we trust one another,” says Ollie. “I know I’m here for him, for his best interests and he does the same for me. Anything he sees that I’m doing wrong, he’s able to come up to me, and it’s the same way [that I help him].”