Bob Ryan with an interesting column on Nenad Krstic: “The 27-year-old Serb is still a bit bedazzled by the events of the past few days. He wasn’t having the greatest year of his life in Oklahoma City. More and more the Thunder had become the “Kevin [Durant] & Russell [Westbrook] Show.’’ If Green, the team’s No. 3 scorer, was deemed expendable, where was that going to leave Krstic, who was down to about 7 points per game and was no longer in favor? But no one said anything, so he fully expected to wake up last Friday as a member of the Thunder.” Doc Rivers also said that both Krstic and Green commented on the passing in Boston.
Quinn Peterson of SLAM on Most Improved: “Westbrook’s progression was clear and apparent playing with Team USA in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. His athleticism was never doubted, but his ability to play the point was. More importantly, his viability to be an adequate Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman remained to be seen.”
Darnell Mayberry: Nazr Mohammad’s impact was immediate. His presence on Roy Hibbert made a huge difference. On the Pacers’ first possession, Mohammed’s post D forced Hibbert to pass out. It led to a turnover and a three-on-one break. Seconds later, he secured a rebound in traffic. Then Mohammed stripped Hibbert and watched that turnover lead to two free throws by Thabo Sefolosha. Mohammed also altered a shot in the paint early on. That was all in the first six minutes. And when Mohammed went to the bench for the first time midway through the opening quarter, he got a standing ovation from the Thunder’s bench. Job well done.
D.J. White got 20 minutes for the Bobcats (they lost by 40 though) and scored six points and had six rebounds.
Britt Robson of SI: “The Thunder really helped themselves at the deadline. Neither Krstic nor Green was part of their long-term plans, and the acquisition of Perkins enables backup center Serge Ibaka to slide into his natural power forward position as a starter. Center Nazr Mohammed (acquired from Charlotte) is a quality backup for Perkins, and when OKC wants to go small, James Harden is a better perimeter scorer than Green. All that said, two things must happen for the Thunder to become a force in the postseason: The knee injuries to Perkins and Mohammed must heal in time for them to become acclimated to their teammates; and Durant and Westbrook must both buy into the defensive schemes the way they did for former assistant coach Ron Adams (now working under Thibodeau in Chicago) last year.”
David Thorpe has Cole Aldrich ranked 48th in his rookie rankings, right behind Jeremy Lin and ahead of Willie Warren.
From Elias: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 21 points as the Thunder defeated the Pacers. It was the 31st game this season than Durant and Westbrook both scored at least 20 points. The only teammates to do that as often as Oklahoma City’s duo are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (32 times).