Clipper GM Neil Olshey on keeping Blake Griffin: “I can guarantee you he will only ever be a Clipper. If [Oklahoma City Thunder general manager] Sam Presti arrived on Kevin Durant’s doorstep at midnight on July 1st with an extension, understand that Blake Griffin lives two blocks away from me in Manhattan Beach so it’s going to be a much shorter commute for me.”
Lang Greene of HoopsWorld looking at the go-to guys of the future: “Kevin Durant is the man in Oklahoma City. Period. However, it was Westbrook who unexpectedly stole some of Durant’s early season MVP when the forward got off to a slow start due to injury. Whether it’s been points, rebounds, assists or field goal percentage, you name it and Westbrook has improved in that category this season. If his game continues to develop at this pace there’s no reason not to believe he could be some franchise’s centerpiece. For now, he’s Durant’s sidekick.”
James Polling of the Daily O’Collegian: “It’s no surprise that those teams are also four of the best in the NBA in terms of defense. Three of Kevin Durant’s five lowest scoring games this season came against those teams. When Durant is being kept in check, the Thunder has no chance against the Lakers and Spurs in the playoffs. So, what can the Thunder do to play better defense? First, the team should not expect to fully reach the level of defense they played last season. The fast paced offense the Thunder has played this season allows opponents to get occasional quick baskets in transition.”
The Thunder will be drafting in the lower half of the first round, so who are some sleepers?
Sure you saw it, but Bill Simmons wrote about All-Star candidates yesterday and he gave OKC’s fastbreak a good nickname: “Important note: You might feel betrayed that I folded my post-Decision principles so quickly just because of Wade and LeBron in the open floor. Here’s my defense: I am a whore for quality basketball. I will take it any way I can get it. Right now, there is NOTHING like Wade and LeBron in fifth gear … well, except for Blake Griffin. Throw in Rose’s brilliance and the Superfreaks — Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, each of whom brings things to the table athletically that we haven’t seen on a basketball court before — the NBA has four “No, no, no, you have to see this in person, you can’t settle for seeing it on television” teams right now; five if you include Chris Andersen’s tattoos and six if you include watching Kevin Love rebound … which are “yes and yes” for me.”
The Tulsa 66ers have won 11 straight. Cole Aldrich had eight points and 13 rebounds in their win last night.
Darnell Mayberry asked a couple Thunder players how they get out of a slump. KD’s response: “Coming in and getting extra shots and pushing myself past the limit has always helped me get out of those slumps. Being confident and not getting down helps. It’s hard. I lose sleep over it. This is my life. I eat, sleep and breathe basketball. I just try to take my mind off of it by watching movies and playing video games. Not looking at Twitter and Facebook. Just shutting everything off and being myself and going back to being the kid I was when I was younger. Thinking about stuff like that helps me.”