It’s funny how all of the recent team success has just completely spoiled me as a Thunder fan. Last week we had a big win against Atlanta on the road and before that two seriously impressive one point losses against Dallas and San Antonio. Then a not that impressive, yet still a win matchup with Minny on the road. Tonight however the Thunder seemed like Monster truck stuck in the mud. Last year we would have taken some moral victory from a win over a team that was really hot and a few games over .500. Not now; moral victories are for last year.
The Thunder just never really felt to me like they “had” this game. There were 11 lead changes and a gazillion ties, yet I couldn’t ever get comfortable with the feeling that we were going to win. Who knows what that is all about, I just was hoping for more. I feel like our team is the better team. I can sort of quantify that with our efficiency differential but all that is just rhetoric since we just lost. I’m just hoping we don’t look back on this game when we are fighting for playoff seeding and go “man, if we could’ve just won that one back in January”. Ok, I know that’s probably not going to happen since we still get to play them a few more times, but still…you know what I mean.
- I think we are starting to see a change in the coaching methodology from Coach Brooks. Earlier in the season Brooks went with his starters and then his bench guys according to some sort of a prearranged rotation that really didn’t change much from game to game. You knew Westbrook, Durant and Green would get like 35+ minutes every night. Krstic would get his start and his minutes, Thabo the same, and Collison and Harden and Ibaka would get theirs. But lately I’ve noticed that Brooks is starting to tweak his rotations on more of a gut feel or some internal analysis of winning matchups. For example, tonight Eric Maynor had a very complete and dominant game off the bench during his 23 minutes. Russell only played 25 and was the bad Russell. How many times this year has Russell played 25 minutes or less prior to tonight? Only twice. It was looking to me like Maynor was having a better matchup against Tinsley and Conley ( as evidenced by his team leading +8 on +/-). Russell was -10. Maynor’s 23 minutes ties his high with the Thunder.
- To expand on the point above, remember when Green was sucking pond water in late December and earlier this month? In a 6 game stretch he played three games with 16 minutes, 27 minutes and 14 minutes with no major foul trouble; all wins. Since then he has been back up in the realm of 35+ mpg. Hmmm. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill but it just “feels” like something’s going on here. Russell, without foul trouble or injury had the bit in his mouth and Brooks was pulling back on the reins tonight.
- The Thunder were getting hammered on the boards early. They were -6 after the first quarter, -4 at the half, -2 after three quarters and the Thunder came out on top 46-42. We didn’t have anybody really take charge of the boards, it was rebounding by committee.
- Hasheem Thabeet is a very intriguing player; those long arms go all the way to the rafters. He had 9 boards and 4 blocks in 23 minutes.
- Mike Conley is shooting 42% from three. Believe it.
- I was really getting tired of watching the Griz back tapping every rebound to themselves in the first half.
- I thought we might actually see some Etan Thomas tonight but it was Mullens instead. Mully really didn’t do much of anything.
- How about Sefolosha’s back to back fast break dimes in the second quarter for dunks by Durant and Green?
- Hey John Hollinger, Sefolosha held OJ Mayo to 1-12 shooting. DPOY!
- Eric Maynor often has the look of a guy who is just about to turn the ball over a lot of the time. He gets down there in the paint and runs all around and over screens this way and that, then makes a genius pass. Eight points, 6 assists and 4 boards in 23 minutes, and two beautiful floaters.
- That play with 20 seconds left really sucked. Tied at 84-84 and Conley drives and gets the ball partially blocked. It goes high in the air and Durant comes down with it. Gasol just rips it out of his hands and knocks him down. No foul and the shot clock goes off because Durant had “possession” of the ball….WTF?
- Then, with the Griz not having made a field goal in over 4 minutes Rudy Gay nails a long two in Durant’s face to finish the thing….
- Jeff Green was 6/8 shooting from <10 feet. He was 1/10 beyond that. What kind of shots do you think he should focus on?
- Harden was the player of the game for all players not named Durant. He had a complete line of 7 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals plus his 13 points. According to Hoopdata, factoring in credit for his assists he had 14.3 points contributed in just 9.4 possessions used (obviously a calculation).
It should be easier tomorrow with Cleveland right? Right?