Beckley Mason of ESPN.com on the “Thunder Model”: “The idea: do what the Thunder did. Reboot. Strategically become bad to have the chance to become really, really good. The Bobcats are a terrible team that hired someone from the Thunder front office, Cho, and is selling its fanbase on the now famous “the Thunder model.” It’s easy. All you have to do is hit home runs on three out of four top-five lottery picks (Durant, Westbrook, Harden), get an absolute steal in the middle of the first round (Ibaka), and hope all four players exceed the expectations of the basketball world, get along great and become active, well-loved members in their community. And it only takes six years.”
Via Ben Golliver of Blazersedge: “Kaleb Canales on where Serge Ibaka ranks league-wide in terms of defensive impact on a game: “Top 5, top 10. He’s top tier for sure. His ability to block shots, even though he doesn’t get to some, him and [Kendrick] Perkins defensively as a tandem are one of the best.”
More via Golliver, Westbrook on passing up dunks: “Just trying to be unselfish and get guys involved,” Westbrook said of his open-court machinations. “Everybody wants to see a show. Kevin can jump so you might as well let him show you dunks.”
From Elias: “Russell Westbrook scored 32 points, Kevin Durant had 25 and James Harden added 21 in the Thunder’s win over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. It’s the seventh time this season that trio has each had at least 20 points in the same game. No other set of three teammates has more than three games in which each scored 20 or more points this season. Harden made six of seven shots from the floor, including two three-pointers, as well of all seven of his free throws on Tuesday. The only other player to score 20 or more points on seven or fewer field-goal attempts this season is J.J. Redick, who did it on Feb. 1 against Washington (21 points: 5 for 7 on field goals, 3 of 4 on three-pointers, 8 for 8 from the line).”
Daequan Cook is out another 7-10 days.
KD will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.
Dave of Blazersedge: “This isn’t even talking about defense. You really don’t want to look at that. Part of it was Russell Westbrook’s talent, but this wasn’t just ordinary Russell Westbrook. He was playing as if nobody was on him tonight. For all intents and purposes, nobody was. That destroyed any hope the Blazers had. None of this is the fault of Smith or Flynn. It’s not an indictment of them as players. Neither one should be in this position. And again, that’s exactly why they’re not even though the alternative is not really palatable to Blazer fans.”
David Stern would like to review goaltending: “My last proposal has always been — and my first proposal, that doesn’t get any respect at all — is to eliminate basket interference. It hits the rim, adopt the European rule, it’s in play. Is the hand just over the cylinder or not? Why task the referees with that? Just do the European rule. And it will make free throw misses more fun, too. But that’s not something I have been successful on dating back to when Jerry Colangelo was in charge of the committee that put in a wonderful set of rule changes that improved our game greatly. They left one on the cutting room floor.”
Kelly Dwyer of BDL on the Most Improved discussion: “Lin and Durant are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, here. Lin is an ostensible rookie playing in his second season after barely getting off the bench in Golden State last year, working in the NBA’s largest media market. Durant is a small-market player who has still been on national TV more times in his fifth NBA season than even the New York-based Lin will probably be by his fifth, an absolute star of stars. And while I’d give the edge to Lin, here, they’re still getting to the top of this list in two completely different ways. That fascinates me.”