David Thorpe of ESPN Insider on Westbrook: “On tape he still is that elite athlete when it comes to beating his defenders off the dribble. He is one of the few guards in the NBA who does not need a screen to take a great shot inside. There are plenty of guards who can beat their men, but they barely beat them and end up having almost no shooting angle to finish successfully. Or they lack the explosion to turn their small advantage that they gained at the point of attack into an easy shot inside. Westbrook however, typically destroys his defender, creating a huge gap between them so that he only has to focus on beating the helper, if that player arrives in time.”
Scoop Jackson of ESPN.com: “The injury is arguably the best thing that could have happened for — not to — both Westbrook and OKC. It allowed for appreciation of Westbrook’s true importance to set in. It gave many of us — the media and so-called experts who claim to know the game better than those who play and coach it — the opportunity to finally see what life would be like for the Thunder without Russell running things. From the beginning, Westbrook really was never given a fair chance to get to this point. As the disdain of his play grew, so did the misunderstanding. The injury has been a blessing undisguised. So what if his shooting percentage is down, and he has yet to find his groove? Doesn’t matter. The W’s are starting to pile back up. The swag is creeping back into the Thunder’s behavior. The fear factor is starting to show on opposing teams. While Durant makes the Thunder great, Westbrook makes them dangerous. Without him, they are incomplete. Without him, the NBA is less interesting.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Adams started in place of Perkins, who did not travel with the team so that he could be with his family following the death of his grandfather. And he struggled mightily. His first career start saw him get thrown into the fire against one of the conference’s top teams, a really explosive offense and a potent pick-and-roll squad. From the opening tip, Adams had trouble adjusting to L.A.’s speed and schemes. He committed his first foul 16 seconds in. Let a high-low bounce pass get by him. Got outmuscled by Griffin for a rebound. Got caught in no-man’s land and got beat on a touch lob pass from Grififn to DeAndre Jordan. Chris Paul turned the corner on him, got to the rim and converted a layup out of a pick and roll. All of this happened in the first two minutes, almost successively.”
James Harden says he’s not a flopper and that he doesn’t look to get calls. And Rob Ford said that one time he didn’t some crack.
Blake Griffin: “If you feel like somebody was trying to hurt you, I think it’s time to take action,” Griffin said. “That wasn’t a situation like that. It happened. Guys push after plays, hold. I didn’t personally feel a need to do something in order to get myself ejected. To me, toughness isn’t being ready to throw a punch or push somebody. It’s about having that mental toughness as well to stay in the game.”