John Rohde on OKC’s turnaround in sharing the ball: “The turnaround finally came when Brooks dangled some bait in front of his players before a Nov. 17 home game against Houston. Hand out 20 assists or more, Brooks said, and there would be no practice before flying to Boston the next day. The Thunder dished out a season-high 26 assists in a 17-point win against the Rockets and assembled a five-game winning streak during which it averaged 21.0 assists.”
Stein’s power rankings: “Friday’s courtside seat in New Orleans reminded the committee (of one) that all the fretting about OKC’s slippage on D/Westbrook’s ability to QB/Durant’s knee can’t change the fact that even KD’s misses are gorgeous.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com had quite the feature on Seattle yesterday. It’s definitely worth reading.
Fox Sports lists their MVP candidates: “Yes, Kevin Durant is leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook has been the Thunder’s most valuable player. With Durant struggling with his health and his shot, the 21-year-old point guard has raised his already-explosive game to the next level. He’s scored, passed and defended at an elite level while becoming a steadier playmaker and more forceful leader.”
Yesterday, Zach Lowe of SI wrote on KD and Russ: “When Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant run a pick-and-roll with the latter as the screener, it’s often a passive play, designed to force the defense to switch a point guard onto Durant. Very often, Durant doesn’t even move, content to post up the point guard from the top of the key and shoot a jumper over him. It’s a play many teams run for scoring small forwards who have solid mid-range games. Over the weekend — and especially against New Orleans on Friday — Durant was rolling to the hoop and flashing into the lane like a big man. It’s not his strong suit, but it introduces more movement into Oklahoma City’s offense and forces the defense to scramble and leave other guys open. Serge Ibaka especially is becoming really good at finding the open spaces Durant’s movement creates.”
Scott Brooks on the Thunder’s homestand: “I really like the fact I get to meet my family, my wife and kids again,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They’re the ones who missed out because we were on the road for so many games these past three weeks. But it’s nice to be home and get some family time. You also get some important time with the guys (players). You keep working on things and tinkering with things and continue to get better.”
Chris Silva: “Head Coach Scott Brooks often says that the Thunder’s focus each time out is to make it a fourth quarter game. Not only has the Thunder been able to do that throughout most of the early season, but it has flat-out dominated the fourth quarters of recent games. The Thunder has held three of its last four opponents to fewer than 20 points in the fourth quarter, which has helped produce three wins.”