Stein’s power rankings: “You knew this season couldn’t possibly go as smoothly as last season for the Thunder. And here’s more proof: Scotty Brooks has used five starting lineups already after needing just three different combinations in 2009-10.”
Hollinger’s playoff odds. OKC has an 88 percent chance of making it, a 31 percent chance at the division title and a five percent chance at The Finals. Hollinger on the Northwest Division: “The Northwest Division champ also retains a chance of outlasting the Lakers for the No. 3 seed. Although subjectively, most see L.A. eventually pulling out of its recent doldrums, the Lakers currently are projected to finish tied with Utah at 50 wins and just ahead of Oklahoma City (49) and Denver (48). The one nice thing for the Lakers is that it’s virtually impossible for them to be seeded lower than fourth, as they’re likely to win the miserable Pacific Division and probably will be the division’s only playoff team.”
Shoals and Eric Freeman discussed Westbrook’s triple-double: “I definitely agree about the Thunder. If you are complaining about these dunks, then my response is that you shouldn’t have allowed Westbrook to get 10 rebounds and nine assists in the first place. Or maybe Smith thinks this is what veterans do and he wants to prove himself. Because wouldn’t the real veterans just shake their heads and walk away. Or, even better, knock Ibaka down with a hard foul the next time these teams meet. That makes a real man, right?”
Ken Berger has an interesting column on small market teams. Applies to OKC, obviously.
Really interesting from NBA.com — fans asked Director of Refs Bernie Fryer a bunch of questions and he answered them.
Eric Maynor has a minor foot sprain and may not play tonight. Also, Byron Mullens didn’t travel with the team because of a stomach virus.
John Rohde wrote on the rip move question that KD was asked about back on Christmas: “I hate it when they do it to me,” Collison said. “I understand where it’s frustrating (to Martin) because it doesn’t seem like a natural play. I should love it because Kevin gets the call more than anybody gets it called on us. When it happens to you, it drives you crazy.”
Henry Abbott on the crowded All-Star choices among Western guards: “OK, pick your Western Conference All-Star guards. It’s tricky. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul will have to be there. That probably leaves you three spots to fit in some combination of Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker. But don’t forget Chauncey Billups. And Monta Ellis recently finished a week averaging nearly 40 points and seven assists. Kevin Martin is among the most efficient scorers in NBA history, and might become the first player ever to lead the league in 3-pointers and free throws made. Nicolas Batum says Brandon Roy will be back at an All-Star level at some point.”
I saw True Grit last night and it was certainly excellent. But I also watched Exit Through the Gift shop, a documentary about street artists made by Banksy. It may or may not be real, but regardless, it was terrific.