Art Garcia of NBA.com writes about going from the basement to the playoffs: “Should the Thunder double their victory total from last season — at the midpoint they’re on pace to do so — fans in Oklahoma City should light up Bricktown with a parade. The feat would be impressive and further confirmation the franchise is on the right track. But as difficult as it may seem, multiplying wins by two in the span of a year isn’t exactly unprecedented. It’s actually downright common for a Lottery team to vault into playoff contention, or at least respectability, before the next Draft.”
FanHouse power rankings have OKC at seven. SEVEN!: “Statement win in the ATL on Monday, highlighted by the monster dunk from Jeff Green over Josh Smith that sealed the victory. Most impressive about this one was the fact that Kevin Durant was largely shut down in the fourth quarter, yet the team still managed to close out one of the top teams in the league on their home floor. The more you watch this team grow, the more you have to feel sorry for the people of Seattle.”
Someone writing about the reason he thinks KD’s shoes are just $85: “Nike and team Durant had to drop the price of his kicks to make them affordable for the “common man.” Nice spin, but TRUST ME if the shoes were flying off the shelves a company like Nike would be charging A LOT more. This is the same group that was selling Air Jordan at $150-$175 this past year during a major economic crises. It’s not like Nike suddenly got a conscious and felt bad about the 10% unemployment rate and wanted to give back. It’s marketing 101 and the reality: Durant isn’t moving product.” That’s actually not true at all. It’s in Durant’s Nike contract to keep his shoes affordable. He demanded it. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re selling.
James Harden is fourth in Thorpe’s rookie rankings. Serge Ibaka is 17, Eric Maynor is 21 and Byron Mullens is 42.
Ball Don’t Lie, behind the box score: “Corey Brewer — and I’m aware I keep prattling on about the losing team — was fantastic. 25 points, six assists, five steals, and he played fantastic (if not effective) defense on Kevin Durant. Because Kevin Durant is Kevin Durant, however, Kevin Durant still put up 31 points on 18 shots, adding a needed 10 rebounds. Great win for the Thunder, who hit the offensive glass and doubled Minnesota up at the free throw line. Russell Westbrook is having a rough few days (he’s seven for his last 25 from the floor, and has averaged 9.7 assists and 5.7 turnovers over his last three games), but the Thunder have already topped last season’s win total.”
Jeff Green was awarded “Block of the Night” for his game-saving rejection. Video evidence.
Sports Illustrated’s writers named their All-Star teams and only Paul Forrester had KD as a starter: “Guess we and a few others were wrong about that whole Greg Oden debate, eh? Durant has upped his numbers across the board while also sparking the turnaround of a defense that ranks second in opponents’ field-goal shooting.” Everyone of course had KD at least as a reserve.
NBA.com looks at the best duos in basketball: “Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook: One is already a superstar. The other is still working at it. Durant’s game is so mature that you’re amazed he’s only 21. Only Kobe, LeBron, Wade and Carmelo are better at scoring from all angles and getting to the free throw line. If he stays healthy and motivated, he’s going to be a star for at least a decade. Perhaps Westbrook will go along for the ride, especially if he further develops his passing skills.”
I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but in case you haven’t – in Georgia, some guy is starting a “whites only” professional basketball league. Seriously. The Indiana Pacers just sent in their application.
Basketbawful: “Last night’s 94-92 home loss to the Thunder dropped them to 9-34 on the year. That pretty much says it all. Of the Thunder, Minny coach Kurt Rambis said: “They’re a team of the future.” So says the man coaching a team of the never.”
Video of Damien Wilkins dunking on Nenad Krstic. I continue to dislike you Damien.
Wow, the Nets really have a shot at this.