Fast Company named the Thunder the sixth most innovative company in sports: “For proving that market size doesn’t matter. Following a nasty arena dispute between the Seattle Supersonic owners and city leaders, the franchise relocated in 2008 to Oklahoma City, the NBA’s smallest market (1.2 million people) and third smallest TV market. It ranks in the top 15 in overall attendance and is one of the most profitable small-market teams in any sport, worth an estimated $329 million, 18th in the league, according to Forbes. Kevin Durant, the NBA’s youngest scoring champ, and a core of young stars has led the fast turnaround, from having the league’s second-worst record to contending for the title.”
If you missed it, super weird moment to end the game last night. Aaron Brooks and Zabian Dowdell (former Tulsa 66er) were both ejected. Brooks, for apparently grabbing his stuff in front of Ken Mauer. Watch the video and you tell me what happened.
Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball explains it a little: “The issue stems from what referee Ken Mauer reportedly said which led to Suns reserve’s Zabian Dowdell’s initial ejection and Aaron Brooks’ subsequent removal. John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix reports that Ken Mauer allegedly called Dodwell a small female dog. Dowdell didn’t like that too much.”
I don’t know who this “Michael” Westbrook is, but the Thunder should play him more.
Seattle native Nate Robinson is OK with the Thunder: “It’s OK,” Robinson said. “The NBA is a business. It would have been sweet if Seattle still had a team so I could have gone home and played in front of the home crowd, but it (relocating) really wasn’t Oklahoma City’s fault. Things happen.”
Rob Mahoney for The Point Forward on the rip move: “I’m not sure there’s a more irritating maneuver than the “rip-through” move that Kevin Durant has practically claimed as his own. NBA fans may despise the seemingly arbitrary block/charge distinction or a number of other rules, but the fact that the league hasn’t cracked down on these kinds of plays — and actually defends them — strikes me as a tad ridiculous. How this isn’t the definition of the offensive player creating contact is beyond me, but referees apparently still deem the play as some kind of defensive infraction. Regardless, Durant is right: As a player looking to win, he should keep drawing fouls this way until the league changes its interpretation of the play. An even more troubling aspect of the rip move: Referee anticipation is leading to some quick — and false — whistles when in fact no contact is made at all.”
John Krolik of PBT: “The rip move, however, is an offensive player creating contact with a stationary defender that put himself in what is perhaps a bad position. Maybe that’s a small distinction, but it seems to me that it’s what makes the “rip” move just a little bit different than the rule exploits we’re already familiar with. Still, one thing is for certain: Durant is going to use that rip move, and use it well, until the refs stop calling it, so defenders should be careful where they put their arms while guarding Durant.”
Michael Pina of Shaky Ankles: “Because Durant is so talented—watching him flail his arms like some sort of secret handshake between him and the official, then being rewarded with one or two or three free-throws—is what makes this move so frustrating. Maybe it’s greed talking. The greed of a ravenous basketball fan who enjoys watching elite scorers creatively sidestep the most complex defensive strategies in the known basketball universe. I want to see as much of that as possible, and the rip move steals precious possessions from right under my nose. The play should either be illegal or paid much less attention to by the referees.”
Tom Haberstroh looking at holes in playoff teams: “By trading for Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed at the deadline, the Thunder filled a hole and made it a mountain. Looking at the depth chart, the only position that could be considered a soft spot is the 2-guard. But then we note that super-sub James Harden has averaged 16.6 points per game in March. As one exec relayed to me earlier this season, if the Thunder could swing a deal for a point guard good enough (Steve Nash?) to slide Russell Westbrook to the 2, watch out, NBA. Size of hole: Overstated.” Move Westbrook to the 2? Yeah, I don’t get that.
OKC’s magic number for the division is at four.