Tracy Graven of HoopsHype: “Coming together was a process. Keeping together is progress. And the Thunder have proven that working together is almost always a success. There are those that would argue that conflict is inevitable when egos are involved. But the coaching staff and the players have a unified mindset that helps them complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses… and, most importantly, there aren’t any egos. Merely one team identity, one that embraces the simplicity and humility of the fans that support it.”
On ESPN.com, there’s a big list of Western Conference storylines. So I used the opportunity to sneak in a nice thing about Jeff Green. (Ducks for cover.)
Game reaction from A Wolf Among Wolves: “Point being, you could see that they tried. When the lead evaporated and the crowd eased back into their seats, the Wolves attacked the basket, looked for easy buckets and tried to draw fouls that simply weren’t called. Then we saw the tempo slow, the panicked looks and the gritted teeth of determination in their opponent. No substitutions or adjustments in strategy can correct that. More often than not, they will be outmatched and they will fail. But make no mistake, this shouldn’t prevent us from seeing that a solid foundation is being laid, it just lacks a cornerstone.”
Canis Hoopus: “A tough loss at the Target Center. Up 40-22, the Target Center was buzzing – having just seen a beatdown of Cleveland in a similar way only four days prior, the crowd was expecting more of the same. Unfortunately, our shots stopped falling, their shots started falling and we had no one to guard the paint, which is where the Thunder won the game (50-38).”
Darnell Mayberry: “Consider this a good win for the Thunder. So what the Wolves own the third worst record in basketball. Minnesota raced to a 40-22 lead after one quarter and the Thunder couldn’t do anything right on either end. But in the final three quarters, OKC pulled it together and toughed it out through defense and hustle. The Thunder held the Wolves to 34.7 percent shooting in the final three quarters.”
OKC Thunderdome: “For the first time this year (I think) I was actively getting angry at this team that am devoting myself to. It was a strange feeling, because I have not felt an emotional connection to an NBA team for a long time (with the exception of the Lakers; still hate them through and through). Through two and a half quarters, I felt like I was subtly but openly despising what I was watching. One of these teams has a record of 5-16? You’d be forgiven if you guessed it was the team in blue.”
One small-ish announcement: Let’s do our best to keep the comment section as clean, thoughtful and as non-personal as possible. I couldn’t be more grateful to have such an excellent group of passionate folks to discuss Thunder basketball with, but I want to keep it all on the higher end of things. I realize arguments, debates and disagreements happen. I hope they do. We don’t all think the same. But let’s just keep it on the up and up, you know?