Spencer Lund of Dime on why KD is better at the last shot than LeBron: “Listen, we’re not trying to say Durant is a better player than James. Part of the reason LeBron got so many looks at the rim last night, and throughout this season and last, is the way he and his Heat teammates — when they’re dialed in (which isn’t as consistent as Miami coach Erik Spoelstra would like)–have forced so many turnovers, which lead to easy transition dunks and layups at the rim. In fact, they started last night with four consecutive dunks after forcing the Lakers into 16 first half turnovers. LeBron’s ability to defend four positions and hassle opposing ball handlers with that deadly trap on the high screen and roll, plus his vision on offense, make him a better all around player than Durant. But with the game on the line and with only one shot attempt at victory, Durant is a better option.”
Andrew Feinstein of Denver Stiffs: “Russell Westbrook is making a great case to be included in the “most hated Nuggets’ opponents of all-time” conversation alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Manu Ginobili. Those of us who have followed this Nuggets/Thunder series since its inception several seasons ago have known what a punk Westbrook is the entire time. But in tonight’s 121-118 Nuggets overtime victory, Westbrook took his “punkassness” to another level … The referees did everything they could to help the Thunder out – sending them to the free throw line for an astonishing 48 attempts – but even with help from the zebras and an offensive onslaught from Durant and Westbrook, it just wasn’t meant to be Oklahoma City’s night.”
You think Russell Westbrook is tough? Well, Scott Brooks coached yesterday after dying.
George Karl on Westbrook’s move: “Russell made a lot of friends here. He’s a feisty guy who likes to create intensity. I like intensity. I’m sure the next time we’ll have some locker room talk. I saw him block the shot and then he threw the ball into the crowd. I know in the rule book it says you’re not allowed to throw the ball into the crowd.”
The Kings have officially been sold to the Seattle group. If you’re wondering how this impacts the Thunder, read this.
Nick Collison on his screen last night: “Well, I’m sure if you rewound it, there was something technically wrong with it. History has told us late in games they (refs) usually let guys grab and hold. It’s more important for me to try and set (a screen) than to try and get technique. But, I’m sure I moved and he called it. Technically, I’m sure I moved because I wasn’t 100-percent set.”
Kelly Dwyer of BDL on Westbrook’s shenanigans: “In every way, though, you have to imagine Rocky (long a good sport) loved this just as much as Westbrook enjoyed putting on the black hat. The fans of Denver missed out on some delicious local queso, a product that Eric Freeman pointed out actually has quite the ardent online following. Maybe Doug Collins can buy some for them. What was gained was our enhanced love of Russell Westbrook’s derring-do, and a potential inter-divisional comedy partnership between RW and Rocky that could last another dozen years. And also, a whole lot of chances to boo Westbrook the next time Oklahoma City visits Denver on March 1, and the hope that a potential second-round matchup between the two teams goes on for seven games this spring. When the queso flows like wine.”
From Elias: “Kevin Durant went 20 for 21 from the free-throw line in Oklahoma City’s loss at Denver on Sunday, after he was 21 for 21 from the line on Friday at Dallas. Durant is the first player in NBA history to make at least 20 free throws in consecutive games.”
Steve Kelley of The Seattle Times: “Pinch me. Go ahead. Smack me upside the head and remind me this is real. This isn’t another one of those dreams where I’m walking into KeyArena and the Sonics and Oklahoma City Thunder are gathering for the opening tip. Tell me this isn’t the moment in that dream where the ball is tossed in the air, the lights go out and when they come back on, the arena is empty and the teams are gone and it’s just me and Howard Schultz sitting courtside and wondering what went wrong. No this isn’t a dream. And it isn’t another one of those here-come-the-Kings teases. This time the deal is done. The Sonics are coming back in the form of the Sacramento Kings. After a couple of weeks worth of hemming and hawing the Maloofs have come to their senses and sold their franchise to a Seattle ownership group that includes Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. What’s the rule on number of exclamation points allowed in a column? Why is the Hallelujah Chorus playing in my head? In one flurry of phone calls and Twitter posts, this worst Sunday of sports in Seattle in a long time turned into one of the best.”