Rob Mahoney for the New York Times: “Those Thunder role players aren’t going to put blinders on and shift into isolation mode; 12 of Oklahoma City’s 14 isolation possessions in Game 2, for example, were used by either Durant or Westbrook. That difference in approach gives this group of players an inherent advantage when it comes to efficiency. By eliminating one of the least efficient scoring avenues from their in-game repertoire, guys like Harden and Ibaka are free to focus on what they do best on offense without having to create against consistent defensive pressure.”
John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Those are some strong words from Felton, and he has every right to believe in his squad. But looking from the outside, one can’t help but think that the Thunder are just the better team right now. Before the All-Star break, the Thunder had the fifth-best offense in the league. Then they traded for Kendrick Perkins and their defense improved without their offense suffering at all. With that in mind, you can certainly argue that Oklahoma City is the best team in the Western Conference.”
Emma Carmichael of Deadspin on Westbrook’s pretty play: “The play was just two points in a blowout, but I’m not sure there’s a better demonstration of Oklahoma City’s arrival as an elite NBA team, one that mixes recklessness and calculation in equal parts. A lot has been said this year about just how young this Oklahoma City team is, and just how inexperienced the Thunder are in postseason play, and just how much they tend to depend on All-Stars Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and how all that means we won’t see OKC advancing past teams like San Antonio and Los Angeles. It’s probably true. But George Karl had reason for saying to reporters before the playoffs started that he’d prefer facing a veteran, experienced team like Dallas in the first round than the Thunder.”
KD on a recent change in his life: “I just want to grow spiritually with the Lord,” Durant said. “It’s something I always talked about, but I never really got into it.”
Andrew Feinstein of Denver Stiffs pretty much nails how most Nuggets fans are feeling right now: “Optimistic Nuggets Fan: Come on. They barely beat us in Denver on April 5th. George Karl sat key players and held back his playbook in the loss on April 8th since we had nothing to play for at that point. The refs screwed us in Game 1 with that missed offensive interference call. And we just had an off night in Game 2. It happens. Like Coach Karl said on Thursday, we’ve only played 15 minutes of awful basketball in the whole series! There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Pessimistic Nuggets Fan: You see, this is exactly why we’re losing to the Thunder. Always making excuses after each loss instead of making substantive adjustments for the next game. So I guess we’re really 4-0 against them in our last four games even though nobody else sees it that way?” Brilliant.
Interesting post from Conrad Kaczmarek on HP: “It seems like everybody is ready to proclaim Derrick Rose the new face of the NBA, but wasn’t it mere months ago that we had given that title to Kevin Durant? When I hear people talk about Derrick Rose as the best point guard or even the best player in the league I cannot help but wonder if Chris Paul and LeBron James were simultaneously involved in a horrific accident.”