Darnell Mayberry gives 10 reasons the Thunder can actually win this thing: “Russell Westbrook: He’s been the best and most consistent player in this series. Lakers guard Derek Fisher can’t guard him, and neither can Fisher’s younger, more athletic backups. Westbrook has gotten to the rim at will, posed problems with his pull-up jumper and has been a steady playmaker.”
Mark Heisler of the LA Times: “Lakers: Toast. Even tied, 2-2, with home-court advantage intact, they’re browned on both sides with their crust trimmed off, spread with butter and jelly and just waiting to be devoured by the Thunder or whoever they play next, unless Kobe Bryant turns back into Kobe Bryant. The Kobe we knew always went down firing. The Kobe in Oklahoma City over the weekend looked like someone protecting an injury or injuries, coming off Game 3 when Kevin Durant shut him down at the end, and Game 4, the most ineffectual performance of his career.”
J.A. Adande: “The Thunder have turned all their negative attributes into positives. They’re shorter, but they’re faster down the court and to the ball, which translated into 24 fast-break points and 23 second-chance points Saturday. Their youth had them looking much fresher after the teams played four games in seven days. But the pace slows now, with two games in the next six days. And home-court advantage swings to the Lakers, with two games in Los Angeles if the series goes the distance.”
Chris Tomasson of Fanhouse: “Not only are Oklahoma City’s players talented, athletic and seemingly have everything going for them but experience, they have motivation. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to be here,” Durant said. “Once we got here, I know people were saying we were going to be swept. We know what we were capable of.” But perhaps even those with the Thunder didn’t know they were capable of walloping the Lakers by such a lopsided margin. But was it too much? Find out Tuesday to see if the Lakers are able to beat Oklahoma City “convincingly.”
Darius from FB&G: “These were the free throw numbers for the Thunder and Lakers respectively. That’s right, the Thunder shot nearly fifty free throws and connected on an absurd percentage of them. Meanwhile, the Lakers shot their share of freebies, but were quite bad at converting. If you’re looking for a difference in this game, look here first. After the game, Phil Jackson said quite simply that before this game got away if the Lakers would “have made (our) free throws, like professionals are supposed to, (we) would have trailed by 5-7 points and been in this game”.”
Did you know: Phil Jackson is 15-0 when a series is tied 2-2. Yikes.
From SLAM’s recap of Game 4: “Brooks later admitted looking at the scoreboard in the fourth and thinking, “Wow, we are up by 29.” He also provided more insight into what makes this Thunder team go: The only pressure he puts on his players is to play hard and play for each other; that real toughness isn’t flexing muscles, but instead, making the right play every play; and that he never looks at his team as a young team, as if to say that if he did that it would be a ready-made excuse. Brooks isn’t one for excuses.”
Reader Clifton sent in the video of KD being drafted in 2007 and pointed out some of the foreshadowing in it. KD talked first about hard work when he was drafted and Jay Bilas said Durant would win multiple scoring titles and probably sooner than later. Just interesting to watch now.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking who the person was sitting courtside at the Thunder games. His name is James Goldstein and he’s basically and NBA superfan. I actually met him in Dallas at All-Star Weekend and he couldn’t have been nicer. Granted, he was a little odd, but he was really talkative and friendly.