Jemele Hill of ESPN.com: “Westbrook’s development is obviously key because it impacts the Thunder’s quest for an NBA title this season. But given how erratic he’s been, it’s opened up a larger discussion about whether Westbrook is the best long-term fit for Durant. Of course, Durant is far too classy to voice any concerns about Westbrook to the media, but Durant had a heated exchange with Westbrook in the huddle during a timeout in the first half of Game 4. Also of note was Durant after shutting down the Nuggets with a terrific Game 5 performance: He beat his chest and used a colorful adjective to shout to the masses that the Thunder were his team. A message perhaps?”
Ticket scalpers got busted before Game 2 writes Michael Kimball of NewsOK.com: “Members of the Oklahoma City police vice squad made the arrests before the game, which ended in a Thunder victory that tied their Western Conference semifinal series with the Grizzlies at one game apiece. Some undercover officers posed as buyers, and other arrests were made when the officers observed sales taking place, Knight said. The price Tuesday of scalped tickets sold by the arrested men varied, but some were being sold at more than $200 over face value, Knight said. He wouldn’t say how often officers enforce the scalping ordinance at Thunder games, but said there is a police presence at every game. There is no state law against scalping tickets in Oklahoma, but Oklahoma City has an ordinance that makes it illegal to sell tickets for more than a 50 cent profit, Knight said.”
Ed the Sports Fan: “OKC is 15-7 (68%) in the regular and post-season combined when Westbrook outshoots Durant…versus 44-22 (66%) when he doesn’t. That’s 22 of a possible 81 regular season games played. In other words, Westbrook outshot Durant in 27% of all of OKC games this year. OKC is 13-5 (72%) in the regular season, and 7-5 (58%) versus playoff teams. In 4 playoff games versus Denver/Memphis, OKC was 2-2. 2-1 versus Denver, and 0-1 versus Memphis.”
I realize I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but if the Mavs finish the Lakers, we’re guaranteed a Finals with either Dallas, OKC or Memphis in it. That would be great.
Chris Broussard says Perk is the biggest X-Factor in the second round: “But I’ll go with Kendrick Perkins. We know he’s not going to be impressive statistically — and he doesn’t have to be — but he must put forth a yeoman’s effort guarding Marc Gasol for the Oklahoma City Thunder to prevail. Allowing Gasol to torch him for 20 points and 13 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting, as he did in OKC’s Game 1 loss, will not cut it. The type of D we all have become accustomed to seeing Perk play in Boston is a must for the Thunder.”
Westbrook and Durant as a terrific twosome: “Second to LeBron-Wade on the funky scale. But it’s close. They’re averaging 56 points but don’t create as much defensive chaos as ‘Bron-Wade. After getting happy with the ball in the first round, Westbrook needed to be reminded he’s the Scottie Pippen to Durant’s Michael Jordan in this picture.”
Serge Ibaka is a good person: “One day last fall in a room at Heronville Elementary School in Oklahoma City, about 100 first-grade students began a spontaneous chant: “Espanol! Espanol! Espanol!” “It was like all of a sudden,” teacher Tiffany Olvera recalled. “It was cute.” The students, had just been told Thunder forward Serge Ibaka would be a surprise guest in the Rolling Thunder Book Bus, a Thunder-blue school bus converted by the Oklahoma City NBA team into a library on wheels that gives away books to kids.”