Zach Lowe of Grantland: “Perhaps the league’s biggest disappointment, the 4-18 Raptors have bigger deals to consider than any involving their December 15 crew; the whole NBA knows the Andrea Bargnani/Jose Calderon package is an almost perfect salary fit for Gasol, though the Lakers’ front office has presumably watched Bargnani shoot bricks and play some of the worst help defense in the league.” The Raptors are almost flirting with being TOO bad.
Darnell Mayberry on KD working for 50-40-90: “If he’s going to finally achieve his goal this season, Kevin Durant can’t have many more nights like he did Sunday. The exclusive club in which he seeks membership doesn’t allow for it. Fortunately for Durant, if this is what his off nights look like these days he’s probably in good shape.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “If Durant leads the league in scoring and goes 50-40-90 (50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3, 90 percent from the arc, never done when leading the league in scoring, though Bird came close), I’m giving it to him out of sheer principle.”
Food Republic with NBA/food power rankings, and OKC is No. 1: “There’s really nothing bad you can say about the Thunder. They represent NBA excellence (which earns them Benihana Excellence) and win both at home and on the road. They’re first in Points Per Game (106.2) and have a league best +9.5 point differential. They also have Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka to make sure that games start out entertaining and stay that way. Trading Harden was a ruthless move that hasn’t hurt the team nearly as much as anyone thought. Excellence looks good on you, OKC. Keep up the good work.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com: “It’s obvious, of course, but if Russell Westbrook continues playing the way he’s been playing the last couple of weeks, nobody in the West has much of a chance.”
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com on one-time Thunderer Eric Bledsoe: “Bledsoe didn’t come into the league with much fanfare. He was the other guard on Kentucky’s young, talented 2009-10 squad led by John Wall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, and faced a familiar rap — not pointy enough to succeed at the 1, but without the shot or size to play the 2. Off the floor, Bledsoe had little of Wall’s charisma and what’s called “makeup” in draftspeak. On draft night, Bledsoe was plucked at No. 18, just behind Luke Babbitt and Kevin Seraphin. Clippers management, preparing for life after Baron Davis, ranked Bledsoe in their top 10, and dealt a protected future first-round pick to Oklahoma City for Bledsoe’s rights. That pick was conveyed to Boston last June and became Fab Melo at No. 22.”
Apologies for the lateness. I stayed up way too late catching up on Justified last night. Worth it.