How about them Thunder?
It’s a great time to be a Thunder fan. We’ve officially bagged our second 5-game win streak this season. That’s really something for a team that was 3 and freaking 29 before New Year’s Eve last season.
It’s especially fortuitous when the next MVP your superstar manages to have a bad shooting night while the team is playing the Warriors. Sometimes everything in the universe is properly aligned and everything flows majestically. Tonight KD missed two-thirds of his shots but the team still won walking away.
As you would expect, tonight’s game was something of a track meet. Golden State/Nellie ball is all about getting out in transition; they are willing to let you shoot unmolested for the most part as long as you don’t take too long to do it, so that they can get the ball back and get the quickest shot available.
But something is wrong with the recipe when one of the slower teams in the association (the Thunder-92 possessions per 48 minutes) plays the very fastest paced team (GSW-100 possessions per 48), and played at the Warriors fast pace (103 possessions tonight) and took them to the woodshed. Am I the only one who thinks Nellie is just flat out tired and bored and only hanging on to get the last ten or so wins he needs to pass Lenny Wilkins for the all time coaching victory record? Really Nellie? You really start Coby Karl on Kevin Durant in his first career start? Really?
- I was shocked, but then, not really shocked (it is Don Nelson after all) to see Coby Karl on Durant. Giving up 5 inches, not the most athletic guy in the world, just called up from the D-league, it was all against him. Yet history probably won’t frown on this too much. After all KD did miss a lot of shots and ONLY SCORED 29 on 7/21 shooting. Sort of subpar for Durantula. It must have been Karl’s defense right?
- Biedrins had 10 first quarter rebounds and Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic combinded for only 4. Biedrins finished up with 18 boards. The dude was really getting inside position when every shot went up.
- The Thunder have now won five in a row, two of which were on the road, and scored 100 points in each of the last five, while only allowing the opponent to get to 100 one time.
- Don’t look now but the Thunder are climbing up toward respectability on offense. Last season the Thunder were 29th of 30 teams with an offensive efficiency of 102.9. Most of this season we’ve been around mid 20’s with an offensive efficiency of around 105. Now we are up to 18th with an offensive efficiency of 106.4 (not counting tonight). The last five games we’ve been just shy of 111.
- Here’s a perfect example of why the offensive scheme that GSW uses doesn’t work: On a missed Krstic jumper in the first quarter the defensive rebound was gathered in by Corey Maggette; he took off in transition. By the time he got to the three point line there were four Thunder defenders back in the shell and no Warriors. Most players would pull it back and wait for their teammates so they could set something up. Not with Maggette and Nellie ball. Maggette jacked up a deep two…..miss. No chance for a rebound.
- It was pretty gross watching the Warriors team trainer yanking on Maggette’s jammed finger; it was all bent and jammed and ugly looking. Our wonderful announcer Brian Davis said “It’s one round of pull my finger where nobody is laughing“. That’s a quote.
- Did you notice that tonight was the second game in a row where KD didn’t get the call on his famous “rip move”? Should we be like Laker fans and cry about how our superstar is not getting his calls?
- I thought Serge might have a chance to have a big game tonight with all the rebounds that would be available, but he picked up two quick fouls and only played 8+ minutes.
- At the half, with a slim 2 point lead, the play of the Thunder showed why defense is so important. Only shooting 39% to GSW’s 44%, yet still having the lead because of a big edge in turns and rebounds. The little hustle plays matter.
- Can you believe Russell Westbrook’s line tonight? 21 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 8 steals, 2 turns and only one foul. That’s not a misprint.
- The third quarter was again the pivotal quarter for the Thunder. We came out and dropped 36 on 14/23 shooting. Meanwhile GSW put up 23 on 9/24 shooting. Game over.
- We win the game by 9 points but only sink one more field goal than the Warriors. The difference here was 8 missed FT’s: 13-21 61% for them and 22-24 91% for us.
- I thought Maynor was excellent in his 12 minutes. 5 points 4 assists and only one turn. Somehow he was -1.
- Best news of the night: Houston, Memphis, Denver and Portland all lost. New Orleans and Utah won. We are officially now ahead of Portland in the Western Conference and just a 1/2 game behind San Antonio. We have a lead on the glut of teams battling for 8th spot up to 7. Portland now sits in 8th.
- In a word: Jeff Green, decent. Kevin Durant, subpar. Russell Westbrook, stellar. Nick Collison, tough. James Harden, streaky. Byron Mullens, tall.