Kevin Durant told Fanhouse that Russell Westbrook better be an All-Star: “If they don’t put him in (the All-Star Game), it’s the ultimate snub,” Durant said.
Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post: “As soon as the Nuggets trade Carmelo Anthony, they will start down the road of rebuilding. It can be a long, arduous process that tests the patience of fans and the nerves of front-office executives. The Nuggets could do worse than look at Oklahoma City, which comes into tonight’s game at Denver tied with Utah atop the Northwest Division. The Thunder (27-14) built from the bottom up and is on everyone’s shortlist of teams with a bright future.”
For a third time, Westbrook was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
T.J. Simers wrote about how Blake Griffin is boring. Man, he should come check out the Thunder locker room.
Midseason progress reports from CBS Sports, with Ben Golliver looking at the Thunder: “When the most talked about deficiency on your team is the loss of an assistant coach, life is pretty good. Boasting the NBA’s most voluminous (and by far the most consistent) scorer in Kevin Durant and one of the most unguardable players in the league in Russell Westbrook, coach Scottie Brooks and company are making due just fine, even if they’ve taken a step back defensively. Look for Durant to turn it up another notch down the stretch this season. They’ll win a playoff series.”
Power rankings from SI: “Few things about the game are more pleasurable to fans than watching a star blossom. And few stars blossomed as resplendently as Kevin Durant last season. Not only did he raise his scoring average five points per game for the second straight season with an effortless mixture of flick-and-swish jumpers and lanky glides to the hoop, but his defensive intensity and effectiveness also improved dramatically. Bottom line, Durant and the Thunder spoiled us last season, which makes it harder to appreciate that he is nearly matching those gaudy numbers of 2009-10 despite opponents’ being prepared instead of ambushed when he unfurls his skills. And while neither Durant nor his team is playing defense as well as last season, the Thunder are four games better at the midpoint than they were during last year’s magical emergence.”
KD is finally moving up NBA.com’s MVP list: “Durant moves up thanks to the Thunder’s 3-0 week during which the club’s beat player shot 57 percent from the field, 87 percent from the line and 50 percent from the arc. Batman got three more double-doubles (including one triple-double) from Robin, Russell Westbrook.”
On ESPN though, Westbrook has moved to No. 4: “Rose isn’t the only one notching triple-doubles. The West’s POW had 32 points, 13 assists and 10 boards against the Magic. He is top 13 in the league in points and assists.”