David Thorpe of ESPN.com: “All three accomplishments came about because of the Thunder’s improved play on both ends of the court, and of course thanks to Kevin Durant, who is quietly trying to wrestle “Best Player in the World” status away from LeBron James. The reality is the Thunder are coasting through many of these games — easing to leads often, then fighting when necessary to finish the game. When they have stayed locked in from start to finish, the Thunder have embarrassed opponents.”
Ben Golliver of SI.com: “Ibaka is a nightmare cover for a Spurs’ frontcourt that has plenty of talent overall, just not the right skills to neutralize him consistently. Ibaka’s athleticism, length and leaping ability present a tough match-up for a vast majority of the league and San Antonio is no exception. Boris Diaw, DeJuan Blair and Stephen Jackson simply can’t compete athletically; Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter stand a better chance but face other match-up issues if they play together and OKC goes small. Like teammate Russell Westbrook, Ibaka is at his most effective when he’s maxing out the relentless meter. That was the case here. He gets love for being able to hit the mid-range jumper, and he was 5-for-8 on jumpers, but he cleaned up inside too through dogged effort, with five baskets in the restricted area. Again, like Westbrook, Ibaka has the ability to wear on his mark and, as a game or series progresses, wear on the opposing team as a whole.”
Darnell Mayberry: [T]hings get tougher on the Thunder from here as 15 of the next 22 will come on the road. A three-game trip is on deck, starting at Atlanta and ending with the highly anticipated Christmas game at Miami. If the Thunder can successfully tackle these next three, OKC will be on a 14-game winning streak and 23-4 the next time it plays inside The Peake. It’s unbelievable what this team is doing right now. I think it’s safe to say we’re all getting pretty spoiled.
Shoals with a tweet I’m pretending I understand: “Durant’s complexity is in the relationship between style and personality, as opposed to the two illuminating their respective complexities.”
Kind of fun that the draft is relevant to the Thunder again. Here’s Chad Ford’s top 100. And here’s Jay Bilas: “Len will be a starting center in the NBA, and has the best potential as a pivot man in the league. A true 7-footer, Len has size and skill along with the best offensive game among centers available in this year’s draft. Len also has good hands, can pass out of the post and can face up and hit perimeter shots. He is a productive rebounder and shot-blocker, and is gaining strength and confidence in his first full season at Maryland. Len is a worthy selection at No. 1 this year.” Thunder draft Len, Daily Thunder makes Lensanity shirts. I can already see it happening.
Quick note: Look at the top six players on Ford’s big board: Noel, Len, Muhammed, Zeller, Poythress, Rudy Gobert. The Thunder are sitting pretty to get a top six pick right now. The Thunder could be landing an incredible young talent to add to this roster. Getting kind of excited about June, and not just because of the Finals.
From Elias: “Serge Ibaka scored 25 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked three shots in the Thunder’s win over the Spurs. The last SuperSonics/Thunder player with that many points, rebounds and rejections in a game was Shawn Kemp on November 19, 1996. Kemp scored 26 points, hauled in 18 rebounds and swatted four shots for the SuperSonics in a win in Toronto.”