Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop: “Does Oklahoma City have anything profound to worry about? Thunder fans worry a lot about turnovers. But the high totals haven’t affected the offense’s overall efficiency, nor does it seem to produce a dangerous number of fast-break opportunities for opponents. More than anything, the turnovers seem like an ancillary product of an aggressive offense. Apart from that, the Thunder have an improved defense that has benefited from familiarity. Aficionados of high drama will yearn for a Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant tug-of-war at a crucial moment, but there seems to be more trust than ever in OKC, on the floor and off.”
Berry Tramel on potential playoff opponents: “LA Lakers: Don’t count out the Lakers just yet. The Rockets, in eighth, are on pace to win 43 games. It’s possible they boost that up. It’s also possible they don’t. Forty-four wins might get the Lakers into the playoffs. To get to 44 wins, the Lakers need to go 25-13 the rest of the way. That’s possible. Not likely, but possible. Basically, play at about the success level as Memphis and the Knickerbockers have this season. Good news: The Thunder was built to beat the Lakers. Bad news: If the Lakers go 25-13 to reach the playoffs, they will enter with a load of confidence. History: The Thunder routed the Lakers twice before losing 105-96 Sunday. OKC went 6-2 vs. the Lakers last season, counting a five-game playoff series victory.”
Kendrick Perkins tweeted last night: “Sitting here thinking about the future of our league and I really think its time for a change with our unions leadership #random” Not so random: Perk’s agent is Arn Tellem, who sent this letter to all his clients in regards to ousting Billy Hunter.
John Rohde on schedules: “The Thunder’s overall strength of schedule to date has been exactly .500, which essentially translates to what you’ve seen is what you’ll get from OKC the rest of the way. If the Thunder maintains its current winning percentage of .756, that would equate to a 62-20 season and the West’s No. 2 seed behind 63-19 San Antonio if the Spurs maintain at .766 while playing an easier remaining schedule.”
The Raptors are hunting for a third-team to take Jose Calderon to facilitate a Rudy Gay deal. To the Trade Machine!
Part Thunder owner Aubrey McClendon is retiring as CEO of Chesapeake April 1. How will that impact the Thunder, if at all?
J.A. Sherman of Welcome to Loud City: “Earlier this season, we wrote that perhaps the best thing that could have happened to Kevin Durant’s career was to lose James Harden, because it forced Durant (and by extension, Westbrook) to get better in all aspects. However, one aspect to Harden’s game that was often missed is that until the playoffs, Harden rarely contributed much at the ends of games, but instead carried the offense for lengthy stretches, which allowed Durant and Westbrook to finish the games strong. This year, the Thunder have yet to find the guy who can carry the burden of the entire offense so that Durant and Westbrook do not feel the need to come back quickly and exert themselves. Kevin Martin is a welcome addition, but he is not equipped to play this role.”
Allow me to be That Guy about the Lakers: You know, they won five straight at one point in December. So maybe pump the brakes on this three-game streak, you guys?