Darnell Mayberry on how the Spurs and Thunder are the same but different: “Perhaps no dynasty in NBA history has been considered boring like San Antonio. The Spurs, for whatever reason, just haven’t moved the needle in America’s heart despite fielding some of the best and brightest players the league has ever seen. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, the Thunder is a league darling and seemingly America’s sweetheart. No matter how you judge it, be it jersey sales or ticket sales, television viewers or butts in the seats, the Thunder is one of the most popular teams today. And the admiration is only growing. It’s a surprising development coming from such a small market.”
From Elias: “Kevin Durant had a team high 31 points and Russell Westbrook dished out 13 assists to lead the Thunder to their 10th consecutive victory on Friday night. Durant has led the team in scoring and Westbrook has been the high assists man in each of Oklahoma City’s wins during the streak. Only one other team in NBA history has won ten consecutive games with one player leading them in scoring and another leading in assists (outright or tied) in each game. In 1994-95, the Jazz won 13 straight games with Karl Malone leading the team in points and John Stockton posting the most assists in every game during the streak.”
The Smoking Section tries to justify taking Oden over Durant: “Point, blank, period, if nothing else, Durant was going to be a sniper capable of averaging 25 every time he traveled to a new city. I knew that, but Oden to Portland – at least at the time – made sense. First and foremost, take a look at Portland’s squad that year. Brandon Roy was the reigning Rookie Of The Year, LaMarcus Aldridge was a raw talent still learning the game and Portland somehow managed to finagle the top overall selection in 2007. And not to mention, the Blazers had Zach Randolph.”
Daniel Orton and Jeremy Lamb recalled.
NBA.com has OKC No. 1: “Kevin Durant has pretty much been unstoppable over the Thunder’s 10-game winning streak. Not only has he shot 54 percent and 43 percent from 3-point range, he’s been to the line 107 times over the 10 games. The OKC defense has slipped a bit over the last five, but that hasn’t mattered much. Of course, it might matter when they host the Spurs on Monday.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has OKC No. 2: “More evidence to suggest that the post-Harden healing process is moving at a brisk pace: OKC has just reeled off 12 straight 100-point games. Have to rewind all the way to the 1994-95 season, when the GP-and-Kemp Sonics did it 19 straight times, for the last time this franchise has managed that.”
GQ says Russell Westbrook was the 24th most stylist man in 2012: “Westbrook may get flack for his more adventurous postgame looks, but the Thunder player isn’t just about loud prints. The man knows how clothes should fit, and we have to applaud any guy not afraid of working pattern into his wardrobe—even if he did not, as he claims, “invent wearing glasses.”
Zach Lowe of Grantland: “If Utah does decide to roll the dice, I’d expect them to deal Millsap before Jefferson, even though Millsap is a better all-around player earning half the money. That sounds crazy, but context is everything in the NBA. Jefferson is a better offensive centerpiece than Millsap; Jefferson’s post game is the hub of almost everything Utah does, and it’s unclear if their offense could score at at nearly the same rate without it — and with a major mid-season restructuring. Millsap is a fine offensive player, but a complementary one, and neither Favors nor Kanter is close to ready to take on Jefferson’s role.”