Today is the 16th anniversary of the Alfred P. Murrah building bombing. In 1995 in downtown Oklahoma City, 168 people were killed. Send a thought or two to those people’s families and friends today. I remember being in third grade and my teacher being called out of the room only to come back in a couple minutes later crying. I’ll never forget what that day felt like.
Really interesting research from Darnell Mayberry: “This is George Karl’s 20th appearance as a coach in the NBA playoffs. He’s taken five teams this far. But the Denver skipper isn’t so successful when staring at an 0-1 hole. Karl-coached teams are 2-13 when losing the first game of a series. The Thunder currently has a 1-0 lead on Karl’s Denver Nuggets. Game 2 is Wednesday night inside Oklahoma City Arena.”
Darnell Mayberry with more on the controversial tip-in: “Rewind to the flow of the game, and you’ll realize that might not have been an easy task for the Thunder. Oklahoma City at that point was out of sorts offensively. After taking a 98-90 lead, the Nuggets had scored nine straight to regain the advantage. By the time the controversial no-call came around, the Thunder was 1-for-8 with two turnovers on its past 10 possessions.”
Mark Kizla of the Denver Post takes the tip in a little bit too far: “But an apology won’t change the situation for the Nuggets, who now must find a way to win four of the next six games to advance past Oklahoma City, a team that features Kevin Durant, precisely the shining superstar the NBA likes to help entice viewers to tune in as the TV drama of the playoffs unfolds. Anybody miss Carmelo Anthony now?”
Berry Tramel on Scott Brooks shortening his rotation: “Expect more and more of that as the playoffs deepen. For a couple of reasons. One, starters can go longer in the playoffs. The travel is lighter, so the players should be more rested. The television timeouts tend to be longer, so guys can get more rest during games. Second, the stakes are huge. Brooks doesn’t want Denver going on a 10-0 run when Durant is sitting on the bench. A season could be lost over such substitution patterns. Finally, what works in the regular season doesn’t automatically work in the playoffs. For instance, while Cook hit a couple of shots during his five minutes of playing time Sunday, he also gave up a blow-by layup to Denver’s J.R. Smith, who otherwise was bottled up most of the night. Cook’s defensive deficiencies are more apparent when playing against quality competition.”
Nice piece from David Ramsey of the McClatchey Tribune-News on KD: “The NBA’s leading scorer walks slowly into the Oklahoma City Thunder locker-room, his eyes fixed on an open black leather Bible with his name engraved on the cover. A pack of reporters awaits him, but he remains embedded in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, a book in the New Testament. He reads carefully in front of his locker for several minutes, marking favoured passages with a light blue highlight pen. Shortly after reading the command, “Find your strength in the Lord, in his mighty power,” Kevin Durant closes his Bible and lifts his eyes to the reporters. A different kind of NBA superstar is ready to talk. “It helps me,” Durant says of his daily Bible study. “Lifts me up. Encourages me.”