Via ESPN Stats and Info: “According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in NBA history a team with at least 12 losses beat a team with at least 12 wins with each team having played no more than 15 games through that date. With the loss the Thunder fall to 12-3 while the Wizards improve to 2-12. Coming into the game the Wizards had a winning percentage of .077 and the Thunder had an .857 winning percentage. Elias also tells us it’s only the fourth time in NBA history — and third time since 1948 — a team won a game at least 10 games into the season against a team whose winning percentage was at least 780 points higher. The biggest upset ever of that kind came last season, when the 1-13 Los Angeles Clippers defeated the 11-1 Charlotte Hornets.”
Danny Chau of Hardwood Paroxysm on James Harden’s superpowers: “The beard is the secret to Harden’s no-look passes. Why? Simple. He dives into the paint. His body is moving one way, his eyes are looking another way, and his beard is pointing up, somehow. There is too much to read. You have a 33 percent chance of making the correct read. That’s an F, my friend. He’s too crafty, and even the defender makes a sound judgment, it’s too late.”
Darnell Mayberry: “This, much more than the league-worst Washington Wizards, was what the Thunder was up against on Wednesday night. It was the ultimate test of mental fortitude, an opponent headed nowhere fast, looking for a fleeting, feel-good win against basketball’s best team, whose lone goal is centered on a championship and whose preseason objective on the journey there was to not get bored with blips like these on the NBA schedule. And, boy, did Oklahoma City blow it?”
Dustbury’s thoughts on the bad loss: “Hubris? Maybe. Scott Brooks is probably wondering why he can’t look up “Nemesis” on Wikipedia right now. And if the Wizards can beat the Thunder, what’s going to happen against the somewhat less horrible New Jersey Nets Friday night? The fly on the wall at the next practice will be getting an earful, you may be sure.”
Really clever and difficult thing: Name all 20 starters in OKC Thunder history. I got 18.
Andrew Sharp of SB Nation takes us back to 2008: “And more than anything Wednesday was a reminder of why it can be fun to cheer for horrible, horrible teams. They can be hilarious, embarrassing, and sometimes completely pathetic, but all the suffering just makes it that much sweeter when things somehow go right. Even just for a night. You could see it in the fans and even the players bouncing all over the court down the stretch, when everyone was reminded of how much fun Wizards games can be, and we all walked out in a better mood than when they arrived.”
Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard debate Westbrook and Durant: “Bucher: Durant works at his defense; I don’t fault him at all. But when you’re pencil thin, you’re not digging out boards in the trenches or keeping someone off the block or fighting over too many screens before you begin to feel it and can’t do what you’re great at — in Durant’s case, pouring in shots. Westbrook has neither that problem (getting beat up physically) nor the luxury (of saving himself for the offensive end). It’s why Durant himself, unsolicited, called Westbrook the Thunder’s MVP last season. Westbrook does more because he must. And he can.”
Someone asked me this last night: Counting last night but not his rookie season when the Thunder were terrible, OKC’s record when Russell Westbrook scores 30 or more is 14-3.
Sam Permutt of Truth About It: “With the Wizards struggling to make a basket in the third quarter, a streaking John Wall elevated toward the rim only to kick out to a wide-open Nick Young in the corner for an open three. What many would call “lucky” shooting in the second half was often a product of superior point guard play from Wall and team execution, especially in pick-and-roll situations. After making five threes in the second half of the game, Young finished his post-game interview by swaggily pronouncing, “Straight buckets! I heat it up! Five for five!” Nick Young, ready to party. Oh, did I mention he played passable defense on Kevin Durant late in the fourth?”