Darnell Mayberry on Nick Collison: “Collison’s contributions have been a boost to a bench unit that, for much of the season, has struggled to consistently keep up with its counterparts in the wake of almost wholesale changes that included the loss of reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden. The Thunder’s bench went from outscoring opposing benches by 5.1 points on average to getting outscored by a tenth of a point. But thanks in large part to Martin’s renowned efficiency, as well as Collison’s emergence as a scorer and passer, the Thunder’s bench is quietly more efficient than ever. Last year, the bench shot 45.5 percent. This year, in fewer minutes and shot attempts, OKC’s bench is shooting 46.5 percent.”
Rob Mahoney of SI.com on shooters: “Durant gets to the rim a ton — as evidenced by the solid glob around the basket in the middle of this Rorschach test of a shot chart — but it’s the rest of the court that interests us. The mid-range is littered with makes and attempts that come in all manner of plays, as Durant’s versatility affords the Thunder the opportunity to use him as an isolation scorer, a curl shooter, a pick-and-roll player or a spot-up option. His shot is quick and deadly regardless of cutting route or style, and in that alone Durant is a unique specimen. Even the shooters with the most idyllic shooting form don’t often see their success translate so perfectly across the field, but Durant’s combination of size, speed and handle allow him to manufacture points in just about any fashion.”
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on Erik Spoelstra being Coach of the Year: “This is big. To understand how big, you have to understand how impossibly tough it is for coaches to come around to the idea that the best thing for their team might be … less coaching. By the time you have put in the insane hours that it takes to become an NBA head coach, often generally at the expense of a quality family life or anything else that matters much, you have to really be attached to something. For many coaches, the thing they’re attached to is the idea of calling the shots. Which is most fun and momentous in late-game timeouts. Watch any sports movie … that’s when coaches coach. Those are the moments that make all those sacrifices worth it.”
Melo dropped 50 last night bringing his scoring average to 27.9 to KD’s 28.3.
Esquire did a Q&A with Russ and asked who he wants to give a makeover to: “Ha! No, not really. I mean, I’ve had that same reaction to some of the people I see and encounter as well. But I just think every one has their own style they gravitate towards — and to each their own. I try to be open-minded about that. But I definitely see it.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation: “It’s obvious to almost everyone closely following this saga that the most reasonable solution — perhaps the only reasonable solution — is the addition of an expansion team in Seattle. The Maloofs would get their money, Sacramento would keep the Kings it has fought so valiantly to keep, Seattle would get a team to replace the one it never deserved to lose and the other 29 owners in the NBA would get both a whole bunch of money and a nice valuation boost out of the deal. And David Stern would be rid of a nasty little problem while making everyone happy.”