A pretty amazing story about the special unit that found and killed Osama bin Laden: “After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap — boom, boom — to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back.” U-S-A, U-S-A, amirite?
Terrific piece by Ben Golliver of CBSSports.com on how turnovers were a problem for the Thunder, but not how you think: “Bigger than Westbrook’s struggles with his ball-handling in Game 1 was the fact that the Grizzlies did an excellent job of taking care of the ball. As a team, Memphis turned the ball over just eight times, giving them a +10 differential against the Thunder in Game 1. That’s an excellent recipe for success: Memphis was 10-1 during the regular season when they committed fewer than 10 turnovers. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City was 5-9 in games in which they didn’t force at least 10 turnovers.”
John Hollinger of ESPN.com: “What stood out was not just what they did, but how they did it. The Grizzlies simply overwhelmed the home side with their rare combination of brute force, precision passing and scrambling defense, racing out to a double-digit lead in the first half and never suffering a serious threat thereafter. Much like the San Antonio series, there was nothing whatsoever about this game that felt like an upset.”
3 Shades of Blue: “Russell Westbrook, come on down. Yes, you get on the list even before ol’ #50. We all know this guy is absurdly athletic and very talented-but taking more shots than KD and failing to finish at the rim is a recipe for guess what, a Thunder loss. And the bad shot choices are not the extent of it-they’re a symptom of a larger decisionmaking issue”
Darnell Mayberry: “Let’s not overlook the performance from KD. Coming into this series, I think we’d all agree that Memphis’ duo of Allen and Battier could give Durant fits. Some of us thought that chess match was more of an advantage than the Grizzlies’ bigs versus the Thunder’s bigs. Boy, were we wrong. KD scored a team-high 33 points on 11 of 21 shooting with 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He had three turnovers, but all of them came in the first half. If KD can keep this up I love the Thunder’s chances.”
Berry Tramel writes Scott Brooks has a problem with Serge Ibaka: “But now you see the dilemma. Collison’s defense on Randolph would come in handy, but Ibaka does so much more, he needs to play. One solution, Brooks might try an Ibaka/Collison more often. Put Ibaka on Grizzlies center Marc Gasol. Kendrick Perkins’ defense was supposed to help curtail Memphis’ paint points, but Gasol hurt the Thunder with 15-foot jumpers as much as anything. So who knows? But the Randolph dilemma comes down to this. The guy, Ibaka, who needs to cover Randolph can’t stop him, but Ibaka still needs to play.”
My column for CBSSports.com. It’s Grizz-centric.
Chris Mannix of SI.com: “The Thunder need the point guard, not the pure scorer. Durant (33 points) will continue to be Durant and it’s reasonable to assume an ineffective James Harden (five points) will bounce back in Game 2. Westbrook has a decided advantage against Conley, who can’t stay in front of him and isn’t strong enough to hold his ground behind him. Westbrook can draw defenses to him on dribble-drives and pull double-teams his way on post-ups. It’s his decision-making that must improve. There is no need to bull his way to the basket or launch an acrobatic shot at the rim. Not with Harden lurking on the perimeter or Durant hustling to find the open spot.”
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “After Randolph finished his postgame interviews on Sunday following the Grizzlies’ victory, he met some friends who had patiently waited for him near the court. In the process, he bumped into his old coach – Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks, who was with Randolph for part of his stay in Portland. Cheeks put his arm around Randolph like a proud papa. “He was never short on talent,” Cheeks said. “…But he is just going to another level right now. I don’t want to see it now. I’m glad he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, but I told him to slow it down.”