Kevin Durant on Scott Brooks’ benching of him: “I back him up 100 percent. I love Scotty. He does a great job for us, motivating us and always pushing us every day. So I’m just going to back him up whenever he does something … I want to be the best teammate I can be. I think I can learn a lot from what he did. I could be a better teammate. And that’s what I tried to do, spark my guys from the bench.”
Cole Aldrich on his D-League stint: “I thought I did well. I really wanted to focus on just a few things, not only keeping up my conditioning and getting reps in the games, but also staying low defensively. I wanted to see the floor a little more, react better and kind of just go out there and play a little bit.”
Darnell Mayberry: “I’m looking forward to seeing how Green bounces back from this one. After allowing Boozer to have a breakout game while going 1-for-9 at the other end, it won’t get any easier for Green. Kevin Love is up next, and David West is after that.”
The NBA bought the Hornets. And they could very well move to Seattle. What a weird twist for Oklahoma City people that so badly wanted the team.
Noam Schiller of Both Teams Played Hard on the MIP: “And who stands above Horford for 2nd in the league in PER? I’ll give you a hint: he plays for the Thunder and he isn’t Kevin Durant. Westbrook has taken his scoring to the next level by using his speed and athleticism to constantly get to the rim, where he either converts his shots at a career high 55.2%, or draw fouls. Russ is getting to the line 9.6 times a night (good for 4th in the league) and making his freebies at a career high 87% clip, combining with last year’s prominent leap-maker Kevin Durant to create the league’s most deadly foul drawing team. If he doesn’t make the all-star team this year, something is wrong with the universe.”
If you missed it: Russell Westbrook was named Western Conference Player of the Week again. This is the second time he’s won that.
The second printing of The Book of Basketball has the “What if?” on KD and Oden: “So what if the Blazers picked Durant instead of Oden? They become the fledgling Western Conference juggernaut of the 2010s (not Oklahoma City); Portland becomes a legitimate 2010 destination for LeBron; any successfully unconventional decision would be called “a Pritchard”; and everyone in Portland would be so perpetually happy that it would never rain there again. Instead, we have to start bracing for the 2029 or 2030 Draft, when Portland wins another lottery and finds itself stressing between Sure Thing Potential Superstar Scorer X over Possibly Fragile Franchise Center X as everyone else wonders, “Wait a second, we’re doing this again?” One of these generations, the Blazers will get it right.”
Bulls by the Horns: “Of course, the Thunder were playing the second night of back-to-back games. And I should also note that Durant — who led his team in scoring with 29 points — played only three minutes in the third quarter…during which the Bulls outscored the Thunder 29-18 to take command of the game. That was the only quarter Oklahoma City failed to score 20+ points. Coincidence? Probably not.”
Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago: “Boozer’s mere presence on the floor created problems for an Oklahoma City squad that didn’t have to face him during the regular-season opener in late October. His ability to score down low freed up shots for his teammates on the wings. Kyle Korver and Luol Deng combined for 32 points. But, even more importantly, Boozer’s offensive prowess took some stress of Rose and Noah to provide continual offense. In short, he did what he was brought in to do on Monday night.”