Kobe Bryant giving some random love to the Thunder: ”Teams candidly admit they are jockeying for position to avoid playing the Lakers. So which team concerns the Lakers? “I’m concerned with everybody right now, the way we’re playing,” Bryant said. Then, unprompted, he began praising the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I love what Oklahoma’s doing,” Bryant said. “It’s a young team. Everybody, including myself, is kind of sitting around saying, ‘Eventually they’re going to fall off. Eventually.’ And then they don’t. They just keep going.”
Eddie Sefko talks a little about his awards ballot: ”Most Improved: I have had a running argument with Mavs’ radio voice Chuck Cooperstein about this. He’s dead certain Kevin Durant deserves this. But I’m not even sure he’s most improved on his own team, considering Russell Westbrook’s rise.”
Nick Collison making NBA.com’s Five on the Rise: “The last time the Thunder made the playoffs, it was 2004-05, they were still in Seattle as the Sonics and Collison was a key young player on the then-Northwest Division champs. Fast forward to Saturday’s game in Dallas and Collison is now the veteran voice on the Thunder and was instrumental in Oklahoma City securing its first playoff berth in franchise history. He had 17 points off the bench and went 6-for-7 from the field, routinely frustrating the Mavericks’ defense with some tough scores around the basket. Collison, one of the team’s best low-post defenders in terms of proper positioning, is plenty grateful to be back in the postseason.”
Fast-forward to eight minutes in of this week’s episode of Air Thunder and you’ll see some shakey camera footage from yours truly.
Mike Baldwin writes about KD’s big season at the free throw line: ”On the verge of posting one of the top 10 made free-throws seasons in league history, Durant’s 716 free throws are the most since Michael Jordan drained 723 in 1987-88. Durant is in select company, becoming one of only nine players in league history in the 700 club.”
KD headlined the March of Dimes this week and Jenni Carlson writes about how his stature has increased: ”That’s because the Headliner has long been a football award. Oh, it’s nothing official. But most years when the March of Dimes is looking for the athlete that has brought the most positive attention to the state, it ends up finding a football player. Think about the athletes who’ve been in the spotlight during the past decade, and you’re likely to hit on a former Headliner. Josh Heupel? Yes, he was a Headliner. Roy Williams? Rashaun Woods? Yep. Jason White? Paul Thompson? Sam Bradford? All three Sooner signal-callers were Headliners. Of the past 10 awards, nine have gone to football players. The only one that didn’t was given to Chris Paul.”