Mick Cornett is awesome. Here’s another reason why: “The Oklahoma City Thunder lost the first two games of their first-round NBA playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Mayor Mick Cornett still believes his town’s team will prevail. Cornett told The Associated Press he’s so confident the Thunder will rally that he reached Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa by phone on Wednesday to make a friendly wager on the series’ outcome. Should the Thunder win, Cornett says the two mayors will take a picture together with Villaraigosa wearing an Oklahoma City jersey during the United States Conference of Mayors, which Oklahoma City will host in June. If the Lakers win, Cornett would wear a Los Angeles jersey for the picture.”
John Rohde wants Thunder fans to roar tonight: “Some simple ground rules for those who attend: No one arrives late; no one leaves early; no one sits until the Thunder scores its first basket and it’s strongly suggested fans remain standing thereafter. A blue T-shirt and white pom-pom will be waiting at every seat tonight. What the Thunder wants more than anything right now is a chance to return to Staples Center — which would mean a win tonight, or Saturday night, or both. Game 3 belongs to the Thunder, and the home crowd will be a big reason why.”
OKC has the Lakers eye: “They have our attention,” Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons said. “They are a worthy opponent. They have our full respect.”
A nice story on how George Karl has been a mentor to Scott Brooks: “Brooks thinking about his friend with neck and throat cancer. Friend doesn’t really cover it. Maybe not even mentor. George Karl is nothing short of the guy that helped make this all happen. Brooks is a deserving Coach of the Year winner. Few, if any, would say otherwise, least of all his friend Karl, who is fighting throat and neck cancer and has been forced into a playoff sabbatical from the Nuggets. That’s the tearing part for Brooks, not the 0-2 deficit to the Lakers as the best-of-seven series shifts to the raucous Ford Center in a historic sports moment for the city.”
Chris Mannix with some thoughts on the series: “The Lakers may have a 2-0 series lead after edging Oklahoma City 95-92, but no one is talking sweep. Not with Kevin Durant (32 points, eight rebounds) starting to develop a rhythm, and L.A. having no answer for Russell Westbrook (21.0 points on 57.7 percent shooting in two games) defensively.”
To foul or not to foul up three? The NY Times looks at it: “According to an analysis provided by Synergy Sports Technology, the situation presented itself 165 times in the last two N.B.A. seasons with 10 seconds or less left on the game clock. The conclusion? Although coaches debate the strategy of fouling intentionally, most rarely do. Teams deliberately fouled in only 19 of those instances. (One team tried to foul but was unable to because of ball movement.) No team fouled with a second or less remaining. Teams that deliberately fouled won 17 of the 19 games in regulation and lost once. Teams won all 14 of the games in which they purposefully fouled with five seconds or less to play. One game went to overtime, and the team that fouled when leading in regulation won. When teams chose not to foul, they won 128 games and lost 4 in regulation, according to Synergy, which logs every N.B.A. game and provides data to teams. Fourteen games went to overtime, and the teams split the victories.”
I thought I’d share my thoughts on it: I’m back and forth but I think I’ve settled on not fouling. My reason is, when you foul, you bring losing into the equation. If you’re up three with eight seconds left, typically your opponent is going to have a 40-foot runner or make a really difficult shot. I’d ay the shooting percentage on those things are probably somewhere in the 10-15 percent. But if you foul, you present the opportunity to lose. Make the first, miss the second and it gets tipped out and now the other team could hit s 3 and beat you. Obviously Synergy’s stats are hard to argue with, but the percentages on someone making that tough 3-pointer versus making the first, missing the second and then making a shot are probably similar. The only difference is, by fouling, you can now lose.
Craig Sager takes a look at the “haunted” Skirvin Hotel. Featuring his very white thighs.
A little Tulsa Shock preview: Camp outlook: While everyone will be watching Marion Jones to see if the former Olympian has enough game left to make the roster, Richardson will be putting together his “40 Minutes of Hell” game plan with seven new players and without Deanna Nolan, who has decided not to play in the league this season, and Katie Smith, who signed with Washington as a free agent.
KD might be done Twittering: “On Tuesday, we learned that the Durantula is currently fed up with Twitter. Fed up with unnecessary negativity he runs into anytime he attempts to reach out to his fans. “I get too many hateful messages on there,” Durant said. “Sometimes I don’t want to hear that.” When asked whether his hiatus is just for the playoffs, Durant didn’t mince his words. “I might be done with that Twitter thing,” he said. “It’s too many people that send me a lot of different bad messages. You got to take the good with the bad, but sometimes you don’t want to hear that so I just let it go.”