Lovely work from Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak on Dirk: “If the Thunder don’t find ways to push him from his comfort zones, particularly the one at the free throw line, and Oklahoma City looked all out of ideas by the end of Game 1, it’s logical to expect more lights out, if not black out, performances from Nowitzki. All the reasons that the hot hand is thought to not exist–it encourages bad shot selection, greedy play, an itchy trigger finger and more focused defense—are serious dangers to any scorer focused on efficiency. The hot hand myth hurts because the result of the ball going through the hoop becomes more important than the process of generating good shots. Understanding statistical likelihood is replaced by a feeling of Godlike power. Any shot will do because I’m hungry and hunting.”
Rob Mahoney for the NY Times on Scott Brooks: “Brooks is in a bit of a strategic double bind; any choice he makes is seemingly the wrong one, as allowing Nowitzki to continue as-is appears to be tantamount to playoff suicide, and throwing additional defenders at him only generates open 3-pointers and layups for his teammates. Brooks is faced with a test he is expected to fail, meaning that even if Nowitzki does continue to torch the Thunder, Brooks isn’t at fault, provided he continues to experiment with every possible option.”
A Hornets fan from At The Hive on their temporary stay in OKC: “It’s possible that everything would have worked out either way had the Hornets not temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City. But even now in 2011, five years (six NBA years) after the Hornets moved their operations to the state capital of Oklahoma, both the Thunder and the Hornets can look back at the benefits gained by both franchises. Not only that, Oklahoma City is proof enough that with one great player (Chris Paul in the Hornets case; Kevin Durant in the Thunder case) and with the basketball Gods ensuring that everything situates itself financially, that small market teams can eventually succeed long term. It’s 2011, but it’s safe to say that the relocation of the Hornets to Oklahoma City still has had an effect on both franchises.”
Steve Alexander for PBT on Russell Westbrook: “After watching Durant fight like hell on defense, and then stand in a corner, literally not moving, on offensive possession after possession against Memphis, it appears that he and Westbrook were just carrying out Brooks’ orders, or ‘master plan,’ if you will. Brooks assumed that Durant wasn’t going to be able to create or be effective on offense with Tony Allen and Shane Battier draped over him, and thought that moving him out to the boonies would clear space for Westbrook to drive and create his own shots. So while Westbrook was looking like the most selfish gunner of all time, I feel fairly confident that he was just carrying out orders from his coach. In other words, Brooks thought his best chance to win was to with the ball in Westbrook’s hands at all times.”
Dean Blevins wrote something: “Consider Chandler in the middle surrounded by KD, Westbrook and the Serge Protector. I kinda like the Bostonian move bringing Perk to God’s Country. Toughness and interior defense are essential to the future of this franchise. But sez here you coulda kept Jeff Green, left Perk with Rondo and added Tyson and come out with a team ready to compete for a title right now.” Um.
Dirk says it doesn’t matter who guards him. He’s probably right.
Berry Tramel on Westbrook’s Game 1: “The Mavericks seemed to be ill-equipped to deal with Westbrook. Dallas point guards are Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea, who athletically can’t stay with Westbrook. The Mavs used DeShawn Stevenson on Westbrook to start the game, which helped. But Westbrook still got inside. The trouble is, center Tyson Chandler is a shot-blocker who can bother a guard infiltrating the paint. In three regular-season games, Westbrook did not play well against Dallas — averaged just 14.3 points and shot 31.8 percent from the field.”
Serge Ibaka says he learned a lot from Game 1: “I learned a lot last game,” Ibaka, whose English is improving but still a little rough, said of the Mavs’ 121-112 victory. “For me, this is my first time to play against Dirk and he gets 48. I can see this gives me like class, a lesson. So, I have my lesson already, so I will be ready for the next game.”
Nike is going to start selling KD’s backpacks. Kind of ruins the fun of it.