Matt Moore of CBSSports.com gave LaMarcus Aldridge an A last night for his work on Perk: “Aldridge battled Kendrick Perkins all night. And he worked him over. 30 points and 8 rebounds for Aldridge, who repeatedly torched him in the post and face-up. Perkins got under his skin, as you can see. But Aldridge won the game, and repeatedly bodied Perkins out of the way to score at the bucket. Perkins only managed to get to LMA after he’d done his damage.”
Dave Deckard of Blazersedge: “I’m not sure what the heck is wrong with Durant but he always seems to do this against the Blazers. He gets completely lazy, settling for long jumpers over and over. It’s not like he tried to get inside and got stymied. He was actually successful the few times his feet touched paint. I don’t know if he’s so brilliant that he considers a long jumper as easy as a layup but if so, he needs to get dumber real quick. Dude was 8-26 on the night, 1-7 from distance, and only attempted 4 foul shots. As those free throw attempts indicate, that’s not as much Portland’s defense as him utterly failing to test Portland’s defense. Whatever he’s thinking, I’m sure the Blazers are glad that’s his mindset.”
Some guy got a tattoo of Dick Bavetta and Charles Barkley kissing. Thought you should know.
Power rankings from WEEI: “The Thunder won five of their first six games, and Russell Westbrook (38.0 FG%, 10.0 3P%) hasn’t even hit his stride yet. They’re incredibly young, incredibly talented and incredibly deep. And they also have Kendrick Perkins. I kid. I kid.”
Byron Mullens is playing well in Charlotte and talked about his new opportunity: “That’s a perfect description,” said Mullens, a third-year player, before Tuesday’s game against the Cavs. “Me and Coach sat down and talked and he said ‘I’m going to let you do what you do best. I’m not going to turn you into a player that you’re not. I’ve seen you since high school. You can shoot the ball, so just go out and shoot the ball with confidence. Shoot and make sure you make it.’”
From Darnell Mayberry’s notes: “Thunder coach Scott Brooks was asked after the game if this game was a test run for Harden starting down the line. Brooks seemed to take offense to the question. Here’s his response in its entirety. ‘I like what Thabo does for our team,’ Brooks said. ‘I know that is a topic at times. James is a good player. Thabo is a good player. But there’s not a controversy on who starts and who doesn’t start. It’s how we play as a group. It’s how each guy performs and does his job and performs their role. James is a terrific player. He has a great sense about himself and he understands his role, and Thabo is the same way. Thabo’s one of the best defenders in the league. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t look at that. They look at ‘Well, he scores six points a game.’ But that’s not what we need him for.’” Yeah, that’s the question I asked Brooks.
John Hollinger of ESPN.com on OKC’s issues: “All the attention is swirling around last week’s dustup between Russell Westbrook and Durant, and certainly Westbrook has seemed off his game in the early going; he has more turnovers than assists and is shooting 37.5 percent. Yet I’d argue the focus on those two masks deeper and perhaps more immediately relevant concerns. Such as whether the frontcourt will ever score a basket, for instance. OKC’s perimeter trio of Durant, Westbrook and James Harden is an outstanding foundation, but Durant is also outscoring the entire frontcourt group, 27.3 points per game to 21.9. I don’t mean the starters, I mean all of them. In fact, no Okies average more than eight points a game outside of their big three.”
In a 5-on-5, everyone seemed to agree the Thunder are still the team to beat. Rob Mahoney: There’s no need to overthink this. OKC is the best two-way club in the conference and should have most of the kinks worked out by regular season’s end. The Western Conference playoffs should still be a fun ride, but the Thunder are the easy pick for the conference crown.