Rob Mahoney of Bleacher Report on the MVP: “The MVP process has always been a bit silly, and since we lack the power to change it, the best we can do is come to a better understanding of why the conversation takes the turns that it does. It’s indisputable that James and Durant’s stocks are trending in opposite directions, and both are perfectly reasonable candidates. But as is the case with everything in this game, the final determination of the league’s most valuable pales in comparison to the justification behind it; the point isn’t that one player is or isn’t the MVP, but that authority — whether by volume or vote — isn’t reason alone to disregard argumentative foundation. There still needs to be a case made, and vague recollections of a few big performances or game-winners doesn’t exactly fit the bill. All of that said: Isn’t there some incredible poetry to the fact that Durant may well win his first MVP because Russell Westbrook is playing his best basketball of his season?”
Kevin Love on the Dan Patrick Show on the MVP: “I think if we make the playoffs then it’s a legitimate conversation to have but as far as right now it’s really tough to say. I look at guys like Kobe Bryant, I look at guys like LeBron James and especially with what Kevin Durant is doing I think he is just taking his team above and beyond. Obviously Russell Westbrook is playing great, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, and guys off the bench that are playing great basketball so I think you really have to start off that conversation with Kevin.”
OKC climbed atop everyone’s power rankings yesterday. NBA.com’s: “In the Thunder’s three signature wins over the last eight days, against three teams in the top 10 defensively, Kevin Durant shot 55 percent, including a ridiculous 7-for-9 from 3-point range. The Heat, Lakers and Bulls are all pretty good offensively, too, so maybe most important is that the Thunder got stops.”
ESPN.com’s: “The Thunder actually lost five games in March — after just seven Ls in December, January and February combined — but that doesn’t seem to matter much now that they’ve (A) toppled the Heat, Lakers and Bulls by a combined 39 points in the space of seven days and (B) improved to 6-0 in the Derek Fisher era.”
Darnell Mayberry: “If I was a Thunder fan I’d be very, very worried about meeting Memphis again in the playoffs. The Grizzlies don’t back down and they don’t go away. And Memphis’ contrasting style that combines paint points and physical punishment is a perfect recipe to oust the Thunder. Plus, not only are the Grizzlies great defensively but they also play with poise that young teams rarely exhibit. It would be another scintillating series. But this time, I’m not so sure the Thunder could get past them.”
From Elias: “Kevin Durant scored 21 points on Monday and Russell Westbrook added 19 in the Thunder’s loss to the Grizzlies. Durant and Westbrook have each reached double figures in scoring in each of the Thunder’s last 50 games. In the last 20 years, only two other pairs of teammates have each reached 10 points in each of 50 consecutive team games. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol did so for the Lakers in the last 58 games in 2008-09; Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen went for 60 straight games in 1995-96 for the 72-10 Bulls.”
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop with thoughts on OKC’s game last night: “James Harden has a Chris Paul-like quality, which is that things never seem rushed to him, even at 100 miles an hour. He likes nothing more than to zip into the lane at warp speed. But once there, he’ll almost never make a mistake out of panic. He’ll take his sweet time to recognize the best options (there are many) and then go hard that way. In contrast, those NCAA guards use all that speed to get into the lane, but once there things tend to get a little chaotic. I recently read a book by the big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, whose survival depends on making good decisions at very high speeds. Part of his training is driving race cars and playing video games, just to hone these skills. That’s a big deal, and Harden has that down.”
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