Arash Markazi of ESPNLA joins the party and writes about OKC’s formula to success: “Before a recent home game in Oklahoma City, a montage of Thunder highlights was played before player introductions as Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” played in the background. It was an appropriate song, not only because of Presti’s appreciation for John Bonham at the drums but because “Kashmir” took Led Zeppelin three years to write and produce. While some musicians tell tall tales of waking up in the middle of the night and writing a hit song or sitting in front of a piano and composing an entire album in a weekend, one of the defining songs by one of rock ‘n’ roll’s defining bands took three years to mold and master.”
Mark Medina of the LA Times: “What’s even more disconcerting, the Lakers actually tried this time. It featured Bryant and Gasol (26 points on 10-of-16 shooting) scoring at prolific rates, Steve Blake coming up with a rare solid shooting performance (nine points on three-of-three shooting) and Bryant refusing to back away from Perkins’ headlock, which resulted in a technical foul for both. But the negatives, such as Gasol’s four rebounds, Lamar Odom’s sudden drop in productivity (seven points on three-of-nine shooting) and the blown fourth-quarter execution hard to watch.”
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold: “In the end, I don’t like the fact that the Lakers lost and I have a few concerns about this team moving forward (most notably the bench play). But I also see some positives in this game that shouldn’t be completely dismissed just because the team lost. As mentioned, the offense was better tonight and even though the defense was sub-standard, OKC hit a lot of shots that I just tip my cap to them for knocking down (none more so than Thabo’s 3 pointer that gave them the lead down the stretch).”
Darnell Mayberry: “In a way, a potential meeting between the Thunder and Lakers in the postseason this year could be more entertaining than last season. The newness will be gone. So will the young, happy-to-be-here, nothing-to-lose outlook the Thunder had. But the basketball would be better. And the matchups more riveting. It could again be one of the best matchups in the playoffs.”
Mark Kriegal of Fox Sports: “It is to Kendrick Perkins’ everlasting credit that he didn’t try to weasel out of a remark as silly, intemperate and incorrect as calling Pau Gasol “soft.” “That was just my opinion from past battles we’ve had in the playoffs,” he drawled. “There wasn’t nothing that I said that was out of character, or anything that was too crazy. I just spoke my mind.” Nor had anyone from the Oklahoma City Thunder ask him to tone it down. “They didn’t say nothing,” Perkins said. “So it must’ve been fine with them.”
Dexter Fishmore of Silver Screen and Roll: “The Thunder had lost 11 straight to the Lakers at Staples. Historically they’ve had difficulty scoring against the champs thanks to Ron Artest’s bullying defense on Kevin Durant and the failure of OKC’s role players to hit shots when left open. Tonight they successfully broke the pattern. Artest’s defense was strong again, but Durant handled it better than he ever has, using his quick release to get jumpers off before Ron could body him up. Though he committed five turnovers, KD scored 31 points on just 18 shots (including free-throw possessions) to give the Thunder attack some much-needed edge.”
Free Darko shuts down today and I just want to say what an influence its been. Shoals is a friend and someone I really admire. He’s been a major influence on me and I want to wish him and the rest of the crew the very best.
Kendrick Perkins laughed last night. I swear it. Proof right here!
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA: “The Lakers can thank the Oklahoma City Thunder once again. Los Angeles’ 120-106 loss to the Thunder on Sunday has the Lakers backed against a wall. It’s about time. “Maybe it puts us in a position that we need to be in where we have to [win],” said Lamar Odom. “We haven’t been in one of those in a long time.” The Thunder put the Lakers in a similar soul-searching mode in the first round of the playoffs last April after Oklahoma City’s 21-point win in Game 4 tied the series 2-2. From that point on, when the Lakers could feel the pressure of ending their season as losers, L.A. went on to win eight straight games in the playoffs and eventually beat Boston in the Finals.”
Sam Amick of SI: “Perkins, the playoff veteran who was traded from Boston to Oklahoma City in February and thus deemed the playoff difference-maker for the young and upstart Thunder, wasn’t the difference-maker in the box score. He finished with just two points, five rebounds and one blocked shot in 29 minutes. But he set the physical tone in the first half, clearly looking to share the hurt he still holds from his injury absence in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.”