Jeremy Bauman of Sheridan Hoops on Serge Ibaka: “It’s easy to fall in love with a player as talented and quirky as James Harden and his beard were; he embodied the Thunder tradition and what they were all about… But when you have a 23-year old Congolese native who speaks five (yes, five) languages, who has proven that he’s clearly a quick learner, who is still beginning to scratch the surface of his limitless potential as a forward in the NBA, it should help to ease the pain for Thunder management and fans, alike.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Kendrick Perkins played well again. That’s now two straight games after a dud in Chicago. He had 10 points, five boards and one pretty assist to Ibaka. He also held Anderson Varejao in check, helping to limit the Wild Child to just one offensive board. I wouldn’t make any bold proclamations after two encouraging performance. But it looks like Perk is turning the corner.”
Perk last night on critics: “If you watch the game, and you know the game of basketball, you understand and you can see what’s going on out there. I’m not the guy to be out there fighting guys for rebounds. Our starting five is a pretty good rebounding team…So I’m not really tripping on numbers. At the end of the day, I’m at the stage of my career where it’s all about wins.”
Berry Tramel on Kevin Martin: “And frankly, his offense might be, too. Martin’s efficiency is in the Harden range, and Harden was world class in offensive efficiency. Martin now is averaging 17.7 points a game on 50.7 percent shooting, including 53 percent from 3-point territory. Better yet, Martin is getting to the foul line; 40 times in seven games, a 5.7 per-game average. That was a Harden strength, and he averaged 6.0 last season. The Thunder still misses Harden. The chemistry hasn’t been replaced, and who knows if it ever will? But this much we know already. This basketball team does mighty fine with Martin on the floor.”
The Lakers didn’t hire Phil Jackson, which means this remains locked as the best Jackson moment in Laker history.
Colin McGowan of Cavs: The Blog: “I expected to spend a bullet point admonishing Kyrie Irving’s defense on Russell Westbrook, but Westbrook’s phenomenal night wasn’t really Irving’s fault. The bulk of Westbrook’s points came either against the Cavaliers’ backup brigade and/or via his uncharacteristically hot shooting from beyond the arc, where he was 4-for-6 (including one at the end of the third quarter from 30 feet out). Not that Irving’s defense was particularly good: a number of times, Westbrook was able to blow past Kyrie with hesitation moves, crossovers, and great bursts of speed. To be fair, Irving did the same sorts of things to Russ. One of the reasons the development of Tristan Thompson the Shot-Blocker is so crucial is because it would do a lot to meliorate the effects of Irving’s lacking perimeter defense. It would make the job of someone like Westbrook more difficult if, once he got past Kyrie, he had to worry about getting his ensuing lay-in swatted away.”