A quick recap of events: The Nuggets forced a Game 6, meaning that the Thunder likely won’t play this weekend. It means Kendrick Perkins gets a little more rest to heal, and also means that Metta World Peace will play in Game 1 should the Lakers advance.
Championship experience matters, writes Benjamin Morris of Skeptical Sports: “Of course, thinking back, it seems like picking the winner is sometimes easy, as the league often has an obvious “best team” that is extremely unlikely to ever lose a 7 game series. So perhaps the better question to ask is: How much do you gain by including the championship test in step 1? The answer is: a lot. Over the same period, the team with the league’s best record has won only 10/28 championships, or ~35%. So the 5-by-5 model almost doubles your hit rate. And in case you’re wondering, using Margin of Victory, SRS, or any other advanced stat instead of W-L record doesn’t help: other methods vary from doing slightly worse to slightly better.” (via)
Steve Kerr makes a case for a new age limit in the NBA on Grantland: “And it’s a shame, because both sides would have been helped by that age limit bumping to 20. The league would be stronger for every reason discussed above. The union would benefit because veterans would hold their jobs for an extra season. And fans would win because the game would be better — we’d see an influx of elite young talent arriving into the league more prepared, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. If that translates into better basketball, then isn’t that what we all want? I realize I may sound like the old guy — stuck in his ways, out of touch with today’s players — but I know what college meant to me; I know what it meant to most of my peers. And I know that the NBA would be a stronger league if its players stuck around school a little longer, too.”
Darnell Mayberry on what happens if no Perk: “To understand how much of a difference-maker Perkins can be, look no further than the last regular-season matchup between the Thunder and Lakers. In that contest, Perkins was so good he took Bynum completely out of the game — literally. Lakers coach Mike Brown benched an ineffective Bynum in favor of Jordan Hill. Bynum scored just 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting with eight rebounds and five blocks in 29 minutes. Bynum scored just six points on 3-of-8 shooting against Perkins. But if Perkins must miss a game or two, Oklahoma City still should be able to compete with confidence. Two years ago, long before Perkins was anywhere near OKC’s radar, the Thunder had marginal success against the Lakers in the postseason. Oklahoma City eventually lost the series 4-2 but came within a Pau Gasol tip-in of forcing a Game 7.”
Mike Brown on the idea of playoff tanking to get World Peace back: “Two guys told me that (Monday), they said that the Twitter world is suggesting that we do that,” Brown said after shootaround on Tuesday. “That we lose (Game 5) so that we can extend the series to get Metta World Peace back. I’m not even going to answer that. To me, that’s a joke. When they said that to me, I just laughed. No, if we can win the game, we’re going to try to win the game. There’s never been a time that I ever thought partially about losing a game for this to happen or that to happen. So, if Metta comes back in 10 games or if he comes back in one game, I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about tonight and who can play tonight and get the win tonight, period. Nothing else. But the Twitter world is worried about all that other stuff.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com: “The Thunder looked really impressive against the Mavericks, who didn’t play badly at all, even though they were swept. The difference between teams, even in a 4-0 series, is so small. But OKC won every important battle. The NBA is relentless; one moment you’re a champion, the next, you’re out.”
Let me say this: I’ve been asked in email or Twitter form for updates on Perk about 200 times. He’s day to day. That’s it. That’s the latest. If I knew something more, I would tell you. I wouldn’t withhold information for fun.