Zach Lowe of SI on OKC post-Perk-trade: “Again: This could be more the result of an easy-ish schedule than anything else. But the Thunder undoubtedly look better. Harden’s play has been particularly encouraging, since the Thunder will be better off now that he can handle the lion’s share of minutes at the 2-guard — and take over ball-handling responsibilities now and then. And cutting out Jeff Green in favor of a bigger front line hasn’t hurt Oklahoma City’s perimeter shooting, since Harden is coming along there, too, and Scott Brooks appears comfortable using a three-guard bench combination of Harden, Eric Maynor and Daequan Cook to stretch the floor.”
The Nuggets say the Thunder talked a lot of trash: “Everybody (else) is pretty much whatever, whoever we’ll be ready to go, but I want them though,” Felton said. “They were doing a little bit of trash talking, so I want them.” … “There’s no question there’s a cockiness to Oklahoma City that we’re anxious to see if that’s what we’ve got to go through,” Karl said.”
Darnell Mayberry on the trash talking: “This is the point in the program where we say be careful what you wish for, big boy. The Thunder just smacked you at your place and thumped you back in Oklahoma City. Denver’s a good team. But the Nuggets aren’t good enough to start calling out opponents, and a backup point guard who hasn’t so much as won one playoff game should be the last one talking. But I digress. The real news in this story is that Felton claims the Thunder did some trash talking. That’s not something we’ve heard about this team. And it’s something the organization doesn’t want to be associated with as it attempts to grow a classy franchise.”
Kurt Helin of PBT on Perk’s screens: “Any offense the Thunder got from Perkins was considered a bonus. Perkins is not that dangerous on the roll part of the pick-and-roll, and that could be an issue down the line. Against a team like the Lakers it should allow Andrew Bynum to freelance more as a help defender. But if the pick itself creates enough space for Durant and Westbrook to do their thing, that may not matter. Either way, just don’t say Perkins doesn’t bring anything to the Thunder’s offense.”
Andy Kamenetzky of ESPN.com on a potential Thunder-Lakers series: “Having said that, I’m not naive enough to deem the Thunder incapable of ending the Lakers‘ run. It could absolutely happen. If OKC isn’t the most dangerous foe, they’re certainly close. A title run also is difficult by definition and stands to offer thrills no matter who the Lakers face. If fans just as soon preferred what felt like the relatively easiest draw possible, even if it meant potentially missing out on the stuff of legend, I certainly wouldn’t blame them.”
Mayberry’s notes: “Westbrook’s come-from-behind steal on Udrih with 4:39 left in the second was as good as it gets. Watching it unfold live, Westbrook looked like a video game character. You could see his determination to get the ball back by any means necessary. He busted his butt to catch up to the play, poked it away from Udrih and darted the other way for a nice layup. Very impressive hustle.”
From Elias: Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 30 in the Thunder’s 120-112 victory in Sacramento. It was the fifth time this season that Durant and Westbrook have each scored 30-or-more points. The only other NBA teammates this season to score 30-or-more points in the same game at least five times are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who have done it seven times.