John Hollinger of ESPN.com on OKC’s offense: “Again, this is one of the league’s best organizations, and it’s quite possible that they’re engineering a dramatic response to these issues at this very moment. But as the Thunder strive to win a championship, it’s a bit jarring that the two main issues that were holding them back in the spring of 2011 are still in their way now. They have a commitment to a starting lineup that isn’t working, and a commitment to a starting center who can’t play. At some point they have to rethink those commitments.”
Justin Kubatko for the NY Times on Kevin Martin: “One thing to keep in mind is that it is still early in the season, and it is unlikely that Martin will continue to shoot at his current clip. But the good news for Thunder fans is that even if Martin regresses toward his career norms, he will still be one of the most efficient scoring guards in the league. Harden grabbed the headlines by scoring 37 and 45 points in his first two games with Houston, but Martin has been a steady force off the bench for Oklahoma City. Although it is much too early to make any sweeping judgments, thus far the trade has worked out just fine for the Thunder.”
Zach Randolph discusses his incident with Perk: “I didn’t whoop his ass; that’s the thing about it. Hopefully I get some back. I’m trying to get some back. I was surprised. … They said it was because I went through the double doors. I guess I went on their side. I don’t know … Nah, I didn’t try to go in their locker room. There are some doors … and their locker room was right there to the left and I had went through some doors into the hallway. … Lesson learned. It won’t happen again. I ain’t going to lose now $25,000 again. I’m done with all that bluffing on the court because them guys do a lot of bluffing. I’m from the bluff city; we don’t do no bluffing, man.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Though he got the Sefolosha-Westbrook assignment right, the one thing I didn’t like from Brooks tonight was not using Sefolosha on Jamal Crawford more, if at all. It seemed Brooks could have subbed Sefolosha early and brought him back to corral Crawford. But that didn’t happen. Maybe it was because Thabo was doing such a tremendous job on Paul that Brooks picked Crawford as his poison. Can’t blame him for that. But watching the twin Kevins, Durant and Martin, try to slow Crawford was painful. He toyed with both and walked out with yet another routine 20-point night off the bench.”
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com: “But the defining quality of Oklahoma City’s win was its ability to shut down the league’s most effective point guard. Even as they climbed atop the Western Conference, the Thunder have never established themselves as an elite defensive team. They ranked ninth overall in defensive efficiency in their march to the NBA Finals last season — nothing to sneeze at — but stand at 13th this season, just above league average. So the hit job on Paul was a notable accomplishment for a team desperate to prove to itself that it can defend.”
What would be in Russell Westbrook’s backpack? Andrew Sharp of SB Nation: “firecrackers, five pairs of hornrims, marching band.”
I hope to have some time to riff on Henry Abbott’s excellent Westbrook piece, but until then, read it.
From Elias: “The Thunder defeated the Clippers, 117-111, in overtime on Wednesday. Oklahoma City has won 19 of its last 32 games against opponents in sole possession of first place in their division, dating back to January 2010.”